Sitting outside the The Seven Bells tavern in the carriage, with a small satchel, you waited anxiously for any sign of him. You were told on days like today, he could be found here having a round or two with members of his gang, The Rooks. You didn’t know if he was inside yet or if he would not be there for hours. You were determined to stay there until you spoke with him.
All you knew about him came from the angry ramblings of your older brother. Ramblings about how this man, one Jacob Frye had arrived in London one day and in less than a years’ time, decimated the Templar Order with the help of his twin sister and their gang.
By all accounts, you should not have been there to meet him. You, the sister of the Templar Grand Master, should have had no business meeting with such a man as Jacob Frye. But you were desperate. Desperate to stop your brothers plans and if that meant working with a man who was supposed to be your enemy, then so be it.
Hearing a group of people laughing, you peeked outside and saw a group of men dressed in green walking towards the tavern. At the head of the group was a man dressed in mostly black with a long dark coat, a top hat, a green waist coat. Very handsome.
“It’s him. That has to be him.” You told yourself.
Straightening your dress, as the group passed the carriage, you took a deep breath and peeking out the carriage said “Mister Frye is it?”
Stopping in his tracks, Jacob saw a very lovely young woman, dressed in very fine clothes.
“Yes, Miss?” He said.
Handsome and with a very alluring voice and manner. Rough, but alluring.
Gathering your courage you asked “Might I have a few moments of your time?”
Jacob didn’t expect this. He didn’t recall having an appointment with anyone, but surely he could take a moment for a beauty such as this one. Sending the others on ahead, he climbed into the carriage with you.
“How can I be of service Miss…?”
This next part would prove to be difficult. A part of you now wished you had brought a gun with you, should this go wrong.
“Before I tell you my name Mister Frye, I want your assurance that you will not harm me once you hear it.” You said, your voice shaking a bit.
“I don’t kill people based off names alone Miss.” Jacob said, evenly, very curious what this was about.
“Very well. I am (Y/N.) (Y/N) Starrick.”
Jacob’s eyes went wide at this. “Starrick, as in Crawford Starrick?!”
“Yes Mister Frye. I am his sister.” You replied, trying to keep calm.
“I wasn’t aware Starrick had a sister.” Jacob replied, instantly on alert.
“Not many know about me Mister Frye. I’ve been away from London for most of my life. Until recently” You said.
Suspicious of your intentions he asked. “Do you have proof of what you claim, Miss Starrick?”
Reaching into your satchel, you pulled out several family photographs. Looking at them over, the resemblance was unmistakable.
Handing them back to you, Jacob asked in a low voice “What does the sister of the Templar Grand Master want with me? Did he send you?”
“No Mister Frye. Crawford has no idea about this. He thinks I am off at some committee meeting.” You said. “I’m here because I need your help.”
“And what help could I offer you?” Jacob growled.
“I need your help, to stop my brother.” You replied.
“Stop him from what?” Jacob asked confused.
“Stop him from destroying London. Stop him from using what he calls a Piece of Eden.” You said, hoping he would know what you meant. From the look on his face, he seemed to understand.
“What makes you think that I can stop him?” Jacob inquired.
“Considering how much damage you have done to the Templar Order in such a short time and considering how my brother curses the day you and your sister were born, you are the only one who can.” You said.
“Why do you want to stop him? As a Templar surely you would want him to succeed.” Jacob said confused.
“I am not a Templar, Mister Frye. Knowing what they believe and what they have done, especially my brother, I would consider it an insult to be called one. Not that Crawford hasn’t tried to make me one or marry me off to one. I want nothing to do with them.” You said firmly.
Reaching into your satchel, you pulled out several bits of documents and handed them to Jacob.
“Those are his next few shipments of supplies for several of his companies. If you care to make trouble for him, all the information you need to disrupt them is there.” You said. “There is more where that came from.”
“Why are you giving me this?” Jacob inquired.
“As a show of trust Mister Frye. If it turns out to be right, and if you want more, I will get it for you. If any of it turns out to be wrong, you can kill me yourself.” You said confidently.
Looking over the documents and you, Jacob couldn’t believe he was having this conversation. A part of him wanted to believe you, but after what had happened with Pearl Attaway, he wasn’t so inclined to take your word for it.
Seeing that these shipments would take place over the next few days, Jacob looked you over and said. “Alright Miss Starrick. I will see how this information bears out. Meet me here in one weeks’ time and if what you say is true, then we will talk further.”
“That is all I ask Mister Frye.” You replied.
“Is it really just his plans for London that are making you want to work against him?” Jacob asked.
“There is more Mister Frye. But that is the biggest reason. “
Standing up and getting out of the carriage, Jacob looked back on you and said “I shall see you in one week Miss Starrick.”
“Till then, Mister Frye.” You replied, signaling the driver.
As the driver took off, you took a deep breath. The meeting had gone better than you had expected.
Watching you drive away, Jacob looked back at the documents in his hand. He couldn’t believe what had just happened and if what you were saying was true, he had just been handed a way to stick it to Starrick further. Jacob hoped that the information would prove to be true. He didn’t wish to kill such a beauty like yourself.
He hoped the next week would pass by quickly. If only to see you again.
On the way back to the Starrick Mansion, you tried to compose yourself. It was now hitting you like a ton of bricks what you had just done. Going to Jacob Frye for help in this matter wasn’t a decision you had come to lightly, in fact you had spent weeks agonizing over it. You almost backed out at the last minute, until you remembered everything that you had learned about your brother Crawford and the Templar Orders plans and decided that you couldn’t sit around and do nothing.
Arriving back near the Mansion, you got out of the carriage and paid the driver. Not wanting the coachman to be aware of your treachery and report it to your brother, you had left and walked several blocks before finding a carriage for hire. It took a bit of coin to convince him to drive you all the way to Whitechapel but he did.
Walking inside, you listened for the sound of Crawford or anyone else. Hearing voices in the library, you decided to try and go quietly up to your room. As you made your way to the stairs you heard a voice “Back so soon, dear sister?”
Trying not to grit your teeth you responded “Yes Crawford, the meeting was shorter than I expected.”
“Hmm, we shall be having guests for dinner this evening. I expect you to be there.” Crawford said.
Shutting your eyes in frustration, you took a breath and said “Very well brother.” And you went upstairs to your room, locking the door behind you. Picking up cushion from a chair nearby, you tossed it in anger. It never failed to rile you up just how little regard Crawford seemed to show for you. He still seemed to think you were a little girl he could order around and you were beyond resentful to him for that. Just as you were resentful that you had no choice but to live in his home for the time being.
Taking a seat on your bed, you thought over how you were going to get through dinner. You were also wondering what information you could bring to Jacob at the next meeting. As long as Crawford was home, you weren’t going to be able to get into his office, all you could do was wait. And wait you would.
That night for dinner, you came down dressed in black. Crawford and the others seemed to pay you no mind when you walked into the drawing room and took a seat on the sofa. Crawford and your oldest brother were too busy chatting up tonight’s dinner guests, all of them older men that you didn’t recognize. Your sisters in law were also busy chatting up the wives of your dinner guests, and minus a small askance look at what you had chosen to wear, they ignored you. They had long since learned that you were the sort that would simply do as they pleased.
During dinner you were seated between two of the guests who spent the most of the dinner chatting about their interests. You noted that both guests were roughly Crawford’s age and both were wearing Templar pins on themselves.
The sight of the Templar Cross always put you in a foul mood. With the Starrick’s having been members of the Templar Order for generations, it was just assumed by most that you were a member as well. As far as Crawford was concerned, as a Starrick, you were a Templar and you were to be loyal to the Order as such. It was just another reminder of how you, the youngest of the family, a late in life baby, and an unmarried woman no less, of how little value you had. You were just something to put up with until you could be married off.
You were about to excuse yourself, feigning a headache when all of a sudden, one of the guests began talking about his new shipment of engines he would be bringing in next week and how they would make all his trains the fastest ones in London, you interest was piqued.
“You know Sir, I’ve always wondered about the engines, what makes them so special. Will you tell me?” You said, putting on a fake smile and hoping that you were mustering up enough charm to fool him.
You fooled him. You fooled him enough that the guest told you everything. Right down to the kind of ship that he would be bringing the engines on. Doing your best to remember every detail, all you could think was “Perhaps this will pique Mister Frye’s interest.
The first chance you got, you went straight up to your room and jotted down every detail you could recall. Folding the paper and tucking it away in your journal, you locked it in a safe place. You hoped that wouldn’t be the only information you could gather.
That same evening, back on his own train, Jacob was going through the information you had given him. The manifests were quite detailed which meant that Jacob would be able to better plan for the amount of Rooks he would need for the task. He was still looking through them when Evie stepped on board.
“What’s all that Jacob?” She asked.
“Shipping manifests for some of Starrick’s companies.” He replied.
“How did we get those?” Evie asked.
Jacob paused a moment. He had been debating wither or not to tell Evie about you. After what had happened with Pearl Attaway, the last thing Jacob wanted was a lecture about working with Templars again.
“I have a new inside source. One very close to the top.” Jacob said.
“How did you come by this source brother dear?” Evie asked very curious.
“They came to me, sweet sister.” Jacob said levelly, hoping she wouldn’t ask further questions.
“Just be careful Jacob, sources can be more trouble than they are worth.” Evie warned.
“I know Evie.” I really hope this one isn’t trouble.
Jacob put the manifests away and went to gather the Rooks. The next few days were sure to be busy and hopefully profitable.
About a week later, you got up early, got dressed and gathered your journal. You had not been able to get much else during the week besides a few names of new Templar members but you hoped it would satisfy Mister Frye.
Looking in the mirror, you found yourself hoping for a few things, one that Mister Frye had been successful in his efforts and that you hoped you looked presentable enough.
Walking down the stairs, you told the butler that you had to leave for some business and that you wouldn’t return until later. As you neared the door, all of a sudden you could hear Crawford bellowing from the library, cursing Jacob’s name again. It took everything you had to keep a straight face as you walked out the door and went to hail a carriage.
No sooner had you arrived at the Seven Bells than you saw Jacob Frye standing outside, looking rather dapper in your eyes. Pulling up to him, you peaked your head out and said “Hello Mister Frye, will you join me?”
Climbing into the carriage, Jacob fixed you with a smirk. “Hello again Miss Starrick.” He said, in a tone that you found most pleasing.
“Can I assume by the look on your face and my brother’s shouting this morning that everything went well?” You asked hopefully.
“That it did Miss. Everything you gave me was correct.” He replied smiling, leaning forward. “Tell me, how badly was dear Crawford cursing me this morning?”
“I’m fairly certain the entire household heard it, Mister Frye” You replied giggling.
“Do you have something for me today?” He asked hopefully.
“I do. Tell me Mister Frye, how is the engine on your train?” You asked.
“As far as I know it works well. Why?” He asked curiously.
Handing him the notes you took, you replied “Should you feel so inclined to have something with a bit more power, look no further than that shipment. It’s supposed to be the most powerful engines available. At least my source tells me.”
“Your source?” Jacob asked, quirking an eyebrow.
“A Templar dinner guest who couldn’t resist telling a lady all about it.” You replied smiling at the memory of how easily you had charmed that guest. “Oh and” You said handing him a list of names “Crawford’s newest batch of Templar lackeys.”
Looking over the list, Jacob saw a few familiar names. Names of business owners he was planning on paying a visit.
Smirking, he placed the documents in his coat. “Well done Miss Starrick.”
“I do what I can Mister Frye.” You replied, smiling at him.
Remembering Evie’s warning about sources being trouble, as pleased as Jacob was at having you as a source, he couldn’t help but wonder if Evie was right. He had to know more.
“Tell me Miss Starrick, have you somewhere to be?” Jacob asked.
“Not at the moment, why?” You asked curiously.
“If we are going to be working together, I would like to know more about who I am working with. And I find its best to have that discussion over a meal. Would you join me for one?” He inquired.
Having left the manor before you had eaten breakfast and having no desire to go back right away, you said “I would love to Mister Frye. If there is a place where we can eat and not have my brother find out.”
“I think I know just the place” Jacob said as he got up and got out of the carriage. Offering you his hand, he helped you out and walked you inside the Seven Bells.
Jacob hoped that he would learn enough about you that he could have you looked into. He also hoped that you were in no hurry to leave.
Having never been inside a tavern before, you weren’t sure what to expect. From what you saw it was well appointed. Despite it being early in the day, the tavern was already quite occupied. Most of the patrons were members of Jacob’s gang The Rooks and so they greeted their boss cheerfully and addressed you respectfully. None of them had ever seen their boss in the company of another woman, much less one as beautiful as you.
Leading you to his booth in the back, Jacob pulled out a chair for you, making you smile a bit. No sooner had you sat down than both food and drink were brought out.
Taking your first drink of ale, you were surprised at how mild it was. Having the best wine served with your meals every night, you were used to much stronger drink, but you realized you enjoyed the ale more than you expected,
“I know this isn’t what you are used to” Jacob said, a bit sheepishly as he watched you take everything in.
“I rather like it Mister Frye.” You said smiling. “It’s far better than being in a room where people are only polite to each other because they have to be or because they want something. But are you sure Crawford won’t find out?”
“Well considering I own this fine establishment, anyone who would dare say anything to him would have to deal with me” Jacob said wryly.
Reassured about that, the two of began eating. Jacob wondered how you would find the food, but from what he observed, you seemed to enjoy it. Watching you closely, he could tell that despite being a lady of high standing, you weren’t the least bit snobbish.
Now that you had a chance to sit down with Jacob for more than a few minutes, you looked him over carefully. Taking in every bit of him, you observed that he didn’t dress like most men you knew. His clothing certainly made him stand out, but it was in a style that suited him quite well.
Looking over him more closely, you could see the insignia of the Assassin brotherhood on his lapel and looking down at his arm, you noted a strange looking device, which you knew could only be one thing: the infamous hidden blade.
The sight of it made you a bit nervous. Having grown up hearing all sorts of stories about the Assassins and knowing that very device had already been used on several Templars that you had met before and your cousin Pearl Attaway, you had no doubt that the man sitting across from you was incredibly dangerous, despite his friendly demeanor.
“So, Miss Starrick, I’m curious. What’s dear Crawford really like?” Jacob asked.
Taking a breath, you replied “To put it politely Mister Frye, he’s an arrogant, pompous, and self-centered man. And that was before he became the Grand Master. Now he’s even worse.”
Jacob raised an eyebrow at that. He hadn’t expected such a blunt answer from you.
“I take it you and dear Crawford have never been close?” Jacob noted wryly.
“You are correct Mister Frye. Crawford has never been fond of me and the feeling is mutual. “You replied.
“So how is it you are living with him now?” Jacob asked.
“Crawford is my legal guardian Mister Frye and he will be until I marry or turn 21, whichever occurs first. That means he has the final say over my life for the time being, including where I live. Trust me Mister Frye, I wouldn’t live with him if I didn’t have to.” You said, recalling what it had been like living in Starrick manor over the last few months.
Incredibly curious he asked, “What happens when you turn 21?”
“When I turn 21, which will be in October, I will be given my trust that was set up by our parents. Once I have that, Crawford has no more say, I can leave and be done with him and the rest of the Starrick clan.” You spoke, taking a swig of ale to help keep your anger over your situation back.
Thinking over your situation a bit, Jacob inquired “Why not marry and be done with him?”
Looking a bit downcast, you said “I had thought about that, but as long as Crawford is my guardian, he has to agree to any marriage. And unless my husband to be is a Templar, he won’t. Not only that Mister Frye, but as soon as I marry, my trust will go to my husband. This may be hard to understand Mister Frye, but after spending my whole life having someone else dictate what I can and can’t do, I would like to be my own mistress for once. I don’t wish to go from one cage to another.”
Smiling a bit Jacob said gently “I understand more than you might think Miss Starrick”
The rest of the meal was spent making more small talk. Jacob noticed that you remained a bit sad throughout it all and he couldn’t help but feel a bit of sympathy for you. But even with all of this, even with your openness and despite being drawn to you, he still didn’t quite trust you yet. A few bits of correct information didn’t mean that this wasn’t a trap of some kind.
Remembering the list of names, you had given him earlier, Jacob quietly formulated a plan. If he could prove what you were saying was true, then this could be a real way to stop Starrick once and for all and if not stop him, further damage the Templar Order just the same.
As the two of you finished eating, you realized that it was probably best that you return to the mansion soon, as much as you didn’t want to. Rising, Jacob escorted you outside.
As you waited for a carriage, you turned to Jacob and asked “So Mister Frye, does this mean we will be working together?”
“For now yes” Jacob said.
“What shall I bring you next?” You asked.
“Whatever you can get your hands on. The more trouble we can cause, the better.” He replied.
“Shall I bring it here again?” You asked.
Thinking it over a moment Jacob said. “No. We don’t need word getting back to Starrick of you being here. If this information bears out, I will come find you.”
“But how will you find me Mister Frye?” You asked as a carriage pulled up.
“I have my ways Miss Starrick” Jacob replied with a sly grin.
Opening the carriage door, Jacob helped you in. Closing the door, you leaned out a bit and said “Be careful Mister Frye.”
“I always am, Miss Starrick” Jacob replied as he signaled the driver to take off. Watching you drive away, Jacob knew he would have his work cut out for him. Along with the planned theft, he now had the task of checking out your claims and he knew just how he was going to go about it as well.
There was no time like the present to get started.
Along the ride back to the manor, you were already planning on how to get more information. You also thought back to your conversation with Jacob and how he hadn’t asked any more questions about Crawford’s plans. Even though he had agreed to work with you, you were left with the impression that Jacob didn’t quite trust you yet.
All you could do now was hope things would go well for Mister Frye and hope that you could get more information for him, enough to convince him that you were telling the truth. What you had seen Crawford do a few weeks before was still in the back of your mind and still made your blood run cold.
“I really hope he agrees.” You said to yourself “Or London is doomed.”
That evening, at the Green York tavern in Westminster, a distinguished looking gentleman walked out in a bit of a foul mood. He had spent the evening playing dice and he was leaving the tavern with far less coin than when he walked in.
As he neared the alleyway, he felt something reach out of the darkness and pull him into the alley and against the wall. Before he could react, he felt a leather glove cover his mouth. Looking at his captor, he saw a large man with a dark coat and hood.
“Hello Mr. Cross.” A menacing voice spoke out. “How would you like a chance to have your gambling debt wiped clean?”
Shaking his head “yes”, Mr. Cross was ready to agree to anything
“Good. Come with me. We have work to do.”
Making their way through the back alleys in Westminster, Mr. Cross didn’t say a word. With his arm being kept pinned behind his back, he did his best to act normally. He had no idea what his captor had in mind and he could only pray that whatever it was, it would be done with quickly, that it would be enough to wipe his debt and that he could go home and forget the whole thing.
Shortly after, he saw that he was being directed to his place of employment, the offices of Barnes, Croft and Associates, where he was a solicitor. Reaching the door, his captor said “Get us in.”
Without another word, Mr. Cross unlocked the door and turned on some of the lights. Suddenly he felt his captor wrap his hands around his mouth and as Mr. Cross struggled to break free, he felt himself slipping into the darkness.
Jacob quietly laid him down on the floor and set about his own mission. Having heard that this firm was one of several that did legal work for the Templar Order, Jacob had hoped he might find some answers to some of the questions that had been lingering in his mind ever since he met you.
Not knowing which one of the solicitors handled everything, Jacob decided it was best to check every office. As he kicked the door open, he looked through any place that might have any documents, intentionally making a mess, making it look as if it was a burglary to help cover his tracks.
After about an hour or so, in the office of one of the Associates, Mr. Cross no less, Jacob found a file labeled Starrick.
“What have we here?” Jacob mused aloud.
Opening the file, Jacob could see it was a myriad of documents. Sorting through them, as best he could decipher, many of them were related to companies that Starrick owned. Near the back of the file, Jacob found what looked to be a Last Will and Testament for Crawford. Opening it up, Jacob poured through it carefully.
Jacob was by no means an expert in any legal matters, but from what he could gather, this was a new will, one that had been recently drafted. In it, Crawford’s older brother was listed as his heir should anything happen to Crawford. Reading further, Jacob noted that if Crawford’s older brother were to predecease him, all of Starrick’ assets would go to Pearl Attaway.
Knowing that would never happen, considering that Jacob had seen to that, Jacob read further that if neither his brother nor Pearl could claim his assets, they would go to the next head of the Templar Order.
Jacob might have just simply put the will away then, if he hadn’t noticed your name towards the bottom. Looking closer, it stated that under no circumstances were you to inherit any of Crawford’s assets. Not the home, not any of the businesses, nothing. Apart from your trust, you had no assets to your name.
Behind the will was a copy of your trust. Reading it through, Jacob saw that what you had told him was true, that Crawford was in fact your guardian and would remain so until you turned 21. He also saw that while you couldn’t have your trust, Crawford had some access to it, in that he could use some of it for your expenses but nothing else. Looking at the numbers, Jacob saw that the trust held a significant amount, nearly 70,000 pounds.
Taking all this information in, Jacob breathed a bit of a sigh of relief. During the last week, he had concerns that perhaps you were using him, much like Pearl Attaway had. He had concerns that perhaps you would use him to get rid of Starrick for personal reasons and not what you had claimed. Knowing now that Starrick’s death wouldn’t benefit you in any way, Jacob felt a bit easier working with you. Now that he knew there was truth to what you were telling him, he could focus on the rest.
Putting the file back carefully, Jacob made as much of a mess in the office as he could. On the way out, Jacob noticed Mr. Cross was still out cold. Turning the lights out, Jacob walked out the front door and into the night.
That evening you were sitting in the drawing room with the rest of the ladies. Crawford had seen fit to have another dinner party with all the guests being Templars of course, it was down to you and your sister in law along with some of the other high-ranking ladies to entertain everyone.
Everyone in the room seemed to be enjoying the atmosphere. Some of the ladies were busy playing whist while others were simply visiting by the hearth. You were amongst the ladies sitting by the hearth, and as much as you tried to be polite and engage with the ladies, you wished you were elsewhere. Thinking back to earlier in the day when you had a meal with Mr. Frye, thinking of how lively the pub was, it made you wish that you were there that evening. At least at the Pub, the patrons wanted to be there.
At 11pm, the guests took their leave and you made your way to your room. As you did so, you took notice of Crawford pulling a few other gentlemen aside into the library for a moment. Looking around you saw that you had a chance and so as quietly as you could, you snuck up to the door and listened for any sounds.
You couldn’t hear much, except the words “We are still working on it. The apple hasn’t given up its secret yet.”
“Keep at it. I want our plans moving forward before October.” Crawford said.
Hearing movement, you quickly moved away from the door and hid around the corner. Peeking around, you saw that Crawford was escorting the others out the door. As soon as you could no longer see him, you quickly made you way up the stairs and into your room.
Once inside, Alice, the head housemaid was there to help you undress for the evening. You got along with Alice well enough, but you never forgot who she answered to and that if she was questioned, she could lose her job for lying on your behalf. Because you liked her, you were careful to tell her anything, so that if questioned, she would not be forced to lie.
After saying goodnight, you climbed into bed. Thinking to what Crawford had said, you racked your brain trying to think of what Crawford could mean. You knew that Crawford and his lackeys were still working on the Piece of Eden, but what was so special that it needed to be done before October?
Remembering what you had seen weeks ago in the secret chamber, your blood ran a bit cold. Ever since you discovered the entryway in the library, you had been loathed to go back in there, for it always reminded you of what you had seen that day. The only thing giving you strength to see this through was knowing that Jacob Frye was going to work with you.
A few days later, down at the docks, several Blighters lay dead or knocked out, having been stung out of nowhere by a few well aimed poisonous darts. Taking aim, Jacob activated his grappling hook and zip lined from the building down to a small ship named the Queen Anne. Remembering from the intel that the engines were to be taken off a steam ship and loaded onto the Queen Anne for further transport, Jacob knocked out the rest of the crew and signaled for a group of Rooks to join him.
Quickly disguising themselves, Jacob had one of the Rooks steer the ship to the meeting point. As they arrived, Jacob hid himself in the Captain’s Cabin as the Rooks playing the part of Blighters, took possession of the engines with little to no fuss. Once that was completed, Jacob ordered that the ship move further on down the Thames, to a meeting point in Lambeth, where Ned Wynert would be waiting for them.
Arriving at the docks in Lambeth, Ned was already in site with his own crew. Eager to see what all the fuss was about, Jacob allowed him to crack open the crate and examine the engines. Looking at them, Ned was as excited as a child on Christmas morning. Having only heard rumors about the engines, Ned was eager to have a chance to test them out.
“I don’t know how you got these Frye, but I am certainly not complaining.” Ned said smiling.
“How soon will you test one?” Jacob asked.
“As soon as we can get it installed in one of mine. If all goes well, we will switch them all out. Just think how much more havoc we can cause when we have the fast trains available” Ned replied.
“Make sure you hide the rest carefully. I’m sure they will find out they are missing soon enough.” Jacob warned.
“Don’t worry Frye, I’ll hoard them as if they are gold.” Ned replied as he eagerly called for his crew to begin moving them. Once that was done, Jacob gave the orders for the Rooks to place dummy crates on the ship and to take it to its next stop. Once the ship was on its way again, Jacob headed back to catch the train. He was worn out.
The next day you were walking through St James’ Park, enjoying a lovely morning. The park itself was already full of other Londoners, and some merchants had even set up in the park, wanting to take advantage of the crowds. As you had in the days before, you always kept an eye out for Jacob Frye. When the two of you last spoke, he said he would find you, though he didn’t say how he would.
Knowing that Jacob dressed in a different manner than most, you knew he would be easy to spot, but so far you hadn’t spotted him. During the last few days you hadn’t be able to get any further information besides what you had overheard and even then, what you overheard was eating at you.
Clutching your bag with your journal inside, you kept it close always. Especially when you were not home. You didn’t think Crawford would go through your belongings, but considering what he was planning, you knew he was capable of more than most.
Near the park, Jacob, along with Evie were visiting with Robert Topping a moment. He was busy telling them about another fight club location he was setting up. Jacob had seemed interested until he glanced for a moment off into the distance and saw none other than you walking through the park.
No sooner than Topping finished than Jacob said “I’ll meet you back on the train. I’ve some business to take care of here.”
Sending Evie on her way, Jacob entered the park, keeping you in his line of sight. Wearing a dress that was a lovely shade of blue and not having seen you since the meeting at the pub, Jacob couldn’t help but think for a moment that you looked even more beautiful since the last time he saw you.
As he followed you, he saw you stop to look at some of the vendors. Not knowing if there were Templars in the crowd, Jacob tried to keep a good distance from you and tried to look as if he were heading elsewhere.
As you left the vendor, holding a sack of candy, you turned and saw none other than Jacob Frye. As his eyes met yours, he nodded his head for you to follow him. Watching him closely, you could see him walking towards a stone building a bit further down the park. Following him as carefully as you could, as you got closer, you saw him walk through an entryway. No sooner had you stepped through than you were greeted by the sight of a smiling Jacob.
“Hello again, Miss Starrick.” He spoke in that alluring voice of his. Returning his smile, you replied “Hello again Mister Frye. Fancy meeting you here.”
“I did tell you I would find you” He said in a teasing voice, leaning against the wall.
Incredibly curious you asked, “Have things gone well?”
“That they have Miss Starrick. These last few days have been both enlightening and profitable. “
“I wish I could say the same Mister Frye. I admit I’ve not learned much since we last spoke. Only that Crawford’s plans are still in place.” You replied, a bit disappointed that you didn’t have more.
“That is why I am here now, Miss Starrick. I think its time we discuss dear Crawford’s plan.”
Ever since you had sought out Jacob’s help, you had been eager for this moment but now that it was here, you didn’t know if you could go through with it. What would happen if you told him and he decided that he couldn’t or wouldn’t help you after all?
Taking a moment to steady yourself, and hoping no one else could hear, you looked at Jacob and said in a low voice “I don’t know all the details Mister Frye. “
“Tell me. “Jacob said moving closer to you, his low tone somehow encouraging.
“Crawford has never made it a secret that he wants the Templar Order to rise as high as possible. Being in control of London alone is no longer enough for him, he wants to control the whole of the Empire and he thinks this Piece of Eden, this Apple he calls it can help him.” You explained.
“What makes Crawford think this Apple will help him?”
“Crawford is well versed in the lore of your Assassin Brotherhood. He has heard the stories about how some of your predecessors have used the Apples and other Pieces of Edens for their own ends. The way he sees it, there should be no reason that the Templar Order can’t do the same. So, he has had Lucy Thorne and the others scour the world looking for the Apples in particular. He had found one before, but as I understand it, that one ended up destroyed.”
“How was it destroyed?” Jacob inquired.
“I am not sure. Something to do with an incident in Croydon.” You replied.
A flash of recognition crossed Jacob’s face. “Ah yes. The explosion at Doctor Brewster’s laboratory.”
“You know about that Mister Frye?” You asked surprised.
“Let’s just say my dear sister was partially responsible for that.” Jacob chuckled a moment at the memory of Evie trying to deny there was even an explosion. “So, are you telling me that this Apple is like the one that Doctor Brewster had?”
“Are you sure?” Jacob asked.
“I’m quite sure Mister Frye. I saw it myself when Lucy Thorne brought it to the house.”
“What does Crawford hope to do with it.?”
“He wants to use it to control others. And he knows it can.” You said, your voice cracking, your body trembling. “This may be hard to believe Mister Frye, but I have seen what that Apple can do. I saw it make a man slice his own throat open, right in front of my brother. A man who was hoping to become a Templar no less. You should have seen the expression on his face, Mister Frye. It was like a child on Christmas morning!
“How can some piece of metal make a man do that?” Jacob asked incredulously.
“I don’t know how Mister Frye! But you should have seen it. The man did nothing more than to pick it up out of the box to show it to my brother. No sooner had the man bled out than Crawford had Lucy bring forth a few Blighters.” You stammered. “To see what else it could do.”
“What did happen?”
Swallowing an urge to be sick, you said “One…. held it, screamed and…he attacked the other out of nowhere. He bashed the other head against the floor. By the time he was done, there was nothing left of the man’s head Mister Frye.”
“Crawford the whole time sat there, grinning. Like it was some great show put on for him. “You said with great disgust. “
“And you are certain that it was the Apple that did this?” Jacob asked, not sure what to believe.
“I’m certain Mister Frye. Whatever that Apple is, its not something that should be in the hands of anyone. Especially not my brother. But now that he knows for sure that it can turn people’s minds, he wants to find out more. If he can figure it out, imagine what he could make others do. If he is right, this Apple could give him the power to bend all of us to his will!” You exclaimed. “Imagine, Crawford and his hand picked lackeys running every thing Mister Frye. It would undo everything your Brotherhood has worked for.
“So, what happened to the Apple?”
Taking a moment to calm yourself lest others hear, “Crawford immediately told Lucy gather their best minds and begin experimenting on the Apple. I found out later that they have been using some of Crawford’s factory workers. I even heard them talk of using Asylum patients in their experiments. All people that if they end up dead, and they all have, no one will notice. And if they succeed, Ive no doubt they will want to use you and the Assassins as well.
This was more than Jacob ever expected. He had heard much about the pieces from Evie and growing up, he had always dismissed them as nothing more than just stories. But if you were right…
“Where is the Piece now?” Jacob asked.
Sighing heavily, you answered “That’s the thing, I don’t know. With all the members of the Templar Order who live in London and all the places they own, it could be anywhere in the city.”
“Bloody Hell. With that many places, we will need help looking for it.” Jacob muttered realizing that he would have no choice but to bring Evie into this. She was far more knowledgeable about the Pieces of Eden than Jacob and with how she was determined to keep them out of Templar hands, she would be the best person for the job. But if Evie was going to be able to even start to look for the piece…
“I know of someone who can help. In the meantime, we will need to keep dear Crawford and the others distracted.” Jacob said, moving closer to you, lowering his voice.
“What shall we do?”
“We will have to cause more trouble. Make them so busy worrying about the Rooks that they will lose focus on the Piece and give us more time to find it. And that means we will need all the information you can get your hands on.” Jacob explained.
Without saying it, you knew he meant that you would have to dig much deeper. Instead of just sitting around and hoping for bits, it would mean engaging more with the other members. This would be a challenge already you knew, for most of the others were not people you cared for, just simply having dinner with them was painful enough. But there was nothing to be done for it.
Thinking quickly, you recalled “I know Crawford keeps some records in his study, records on members and the like. He digs deep into their backgrounds and they have no idea that he does it. Blackmail is one of his favorite ways to keep them compliant.
“Can you get to them?” Jacob asked, knowing that Evie would need that to start.
Remembering something Crawford had mentioned that morning at breakfast you said, “He said he is having a meeting with some of his solicitors tonight at one of his clubs, so I will have to wait until he leaves.”
“When is the meeting?”
“It’s at 7, at the Artemis Club. It’s not far from here.” You said. “Come to the house after 9:00. Wait for me at the gate behind the house. I’ll bring anything I can gather.” You promised.
“Alright, we will start with that. In the meantime, you best get back. After all, we can’t have you seen in the company of a scoundrel like myself. “Jacob teased, his smile lightening the mood.
“I wouldn’t exactly call you a scoundrel, Mister Frye.” You said honestly.
“Oh Miss Starrick, what would you call me?” Jacob asked raising his eyebrows, his curiosity greatly aroused.
For you, that was easy. Even though you had only known Jacob Frye a short time, he had shown himself to be a far different man than what you were used to. Sure, he was rough around the edges and he was worlds away from the sort of men you were used to being in the company of. But unlike those men, Jacob made no bones about who he was and wasn’t. Unlike the Templars who only spoke of raising those who only they deemed worthy, Jacob and his sister worked to save those that the Templars would see fit to keep under their heel.
“I would call you a better man than most.” You replied, leaving Jacob stunned as you turned to make your way back out to the park. Giving him a smile that bore a hint of sadness, you said. “Till tonight, Mister Frye.”
“Till tonight, Miss Starrick.” Jacob said, tipping his top hat to you.
After you left, Jacob waited a few moments to ensure that it would be safe enough to follow you out. Once he stepped out, he looked to the crowds and spotted you near the gates.
Watching you walk back towards a place that he knew you didn’t want to return to, Jacob couldn’t help but feel a bit of pity for you. Pity for the hand you had been dealt. While Jacob knew so many would love to carry the name of Starrick, have all the prestige that came with it, Jacob knew that you would do anything to be rid of it.
Chapter 6: Part 6
Arriving back on the train at Victoria Station, Jacob called out for his sister. Knowing that the information he had would be of great interest to her and that time was of the essence, he searched all the compartments, finding her in the living compartment by the hearth, deep in discussion with Henry Green.
“Greenie! What brings you by?” Jacob said raising his arms out and smiling at his fellow assassin.
Greeting Jacob with a small smile, Henry said “I was just updating Evie here on a few things. But now that you are here, there is something the both of you should know. I’ve gotten word that Lucy Thorne has returned to London recently and according to my sources, she has brought back something very valuable.”
“Really?” Jacob feigned surprise, already guessing where this was going. “How valuable?”
“Valuable enough to threaten the lives of the people helping her move it. Graphically, I am told.” Henry replied wincing a bit.
“Miss Thorne threatens people just for existing Greenie.” Jacob noted wryly.
“Do they know what she brought back?” Evie asked nervously.
“They are not sure, but apparently it was in an old wooden box. A box she acquired while she was on the continent. They guessed it was valuable because she took it to Crawford Starrick’s home immediately.” Henry explained.
“Which can only mean one thing: they must have found another Piece of Eden.” Evie guessed, both excited and daunted at the prospect.
“Another Apple.” Jacob confessed.
“What?!” Both Evie and Henry said, eyes wide with shock.
“About that.” Jacob said, rubbing the back of his neck, eager to get this over with. “I just learned that Starrick has another Apple. One that he is already experimenting on.”
Crossing over to him, Evie asked eagerly “Where did you learn this Jacob?”
“From my source.”
“The same source that gave you those shipping manifests?” She asked.
“The very same.” Jacob replied.
“There are more Apples?” Henry spoke silently. “I had always wondered if there were more. This is not good at all.”
Crossing her arms Evie asked pointedly “And how does this source come about this information?”
“They saw the Apple for themselves.” Jacob replied, his tone beginning to match Evie’s. “They not only saw the Apple but know of Starrick’s plans for it.”
Seeing how tense things were beginning to get, Henry stepped closer. “Do they know where it is now?”
Taking a moment to calm himself Jacob said, “All they know is that it could be anywhere in London.”
“That isn’t much help, Jacob.” Evie said, a bit cross. “Considering the size of London. Where would we begin to look?”
“About that, I am meeting with the source tonight. They have promised information that will help us get started. “Jacob explained, hoping that would get Evie focused.
“Just how close is this source Jacob?” Henry asked, greatly curious.
With a small smirk Jacob crossed his arms and replied a bit smugly “Close enough to know that Starrick will be having a dinner meeting at the Artemis Club at 7 O’clock tonight.”
The whole conversation felt surreal to Evie. After years of hearing Jacob not take the Pieces of Eden seriously, to have him finally do so made her wonder what was really going on here.
“Alright Jacob, let’s see what your source gives us tonight.” Henry said, deciding it was time to get the Frye’s focused on the mission. “Let us make plans to listen in on Starrick’s meeting.”
That night at dinner, you ate your meal in relative silence. Since your older brother Robert had decided to accompany Crawford to the meeting, it was just you and your sister in law, Caroline, a thin, blonde woman from a wealthy merchant family, who was about the haughtiest woman you had ever met.
As the two of you were not close, the two of you didn’t have much to discuss other than her charity causes. Inwardly you sighed at listening to her go on about them, for as much as she pretended that they were important, you knew that she, much like Robert and Crawford, didn’t do anything that didn’t somehow benefit the Templar Cause.
Once the meal was finished, you excused yourself, saying that you had some letters you needed to finish and left. After making sure that Caroline had gone into the drawing room, you dashed upstairs and quickly made your way to Crawford’s study. Located near the top of the stairwell, you opened the door and shut it quietly behind you.
Seeing on the clock that it was half past 8, you walked behind the desk to where Crawford had a cabinet with glass panels. Opening it, you stared for a moment at the rows of black bound books, wondering which one would have the information. Starting on the left, you pulled out each book, one at a time and flipped through them quickly. Most were books on the Templar Order that Crawford had collected.
Reaching the second row, you pulled out the first book, opened it and saw it was a directory. Written inside, in neat script, were the names of members of the Order. Names, ranks, the names of their family members and their occupations. Knowing there was no way you could copy all of it quickly and knowing that Crawford wouldn’t leave the Apple with just any member, you looked for the names of those with the highest rank and wrote down those along with the businesses they owned.
After filling several pages worth of information, you glanced up at the clock and saw that it was nearly nine. Deciding to come back for the rest later, you placed the book back and tidied up. As you were about to leave, you noted that Crawford had left a book open on his desk. A quick glance told you it was his diary.
“This could be useful.” You thought as you grabbed one more piece of paper.
Arriving near Starrick’s home at nine sharp, Jacob wondered how long it would take. After leaving Evie and Henry at the meeting, at which Crawford had showed up promptly at 7, Jacob decided to make his way via the roof, so that no one would see him getting close to the back of the house.
From the rooftops, Jacob could see the house, surrounded by a wrought iron fence, the carriage house and a few other small buildings and the back gate which you spoke of. Not spotting you yet, Jacob said down and waited, eager to see you and eager to know what you would bring.
Gathering the papers, you went back down quietly. Nearing the door, the butler, a thin, short, balding man by the name of Worthington walked up and said “Miss? Can I help you?”
Hiding the papers behind you, you said nervously “I’m feeling a bit off and in need of a bit of air. I won’t be long.”
With a nod, Worthington walked back towards the drawing room.
Stepping outside, you walked around the house towards the back gate, praying that Crawford wouldn’t arrive home yet and praying that none of the servants were outside.
Jacob’s eye soon caught sight of someone walking towards the gate. Guessing that it was you, he carefully and quietly climbed down the side of the building. He walked quietly over to the gate, reaching it just as you did. The nearby street lamps gave off just enough light to where he could see you, quite lovely in your evening gown of dark blue with lace.
“She gets prettier every time I see her.” Jacob admitted privately, glad that you couldn’t see the hint of red on his cheeks.
“Hello Mister Frye. Right on time.” You spoke softly through the bars.
“I was raised to not keep a lady waiting.” Jacob teased gently. “Among other things.”
Not knowing how much time you had, you brought out the papers and handed them to Jacob. As he took them from you, for just a few brief seconds, you felt his fingers brush yours, making you blush in turn.
Regaining your composure, you said nodding to the papers “These are some of the names of the higher-ranking Templars and the businesses they own. Considering how much Crawford values the apple, I thought that might be a good start.”
Quickly Jacob tucked the documents into his coat.
“I’ll hand these off to Evie and Henry. They are quite knowledgeable about the Pieces and will know what to look for. Now we just need to cause some havoc.”
“How will we do that?” You asked.
“Oh, I’ve a few ideas.” Jacob said smiling, having spent the afternoon going over more ways to disrupt the Templar operations.
“While you do that Mister Frye, I’ll gather what I can. Not just from here but at events.” You said. “And there will be quite a few in the next few weeks.”
“How do you know?”
“Along with those names, I found dear Crawford’s diary. His social calendar and by extension mine, will have several events of which he will make me go to. There I can gather what I can.” You explained, not looking forward to having to mingle with the others again.
“Are you sure they will talk?” Jacob asked.
“If there is one thing that the other members are not good at, it is keeping quiet. Especially if it involves bragging to a lady.” You noted wryly. Recalling the other information, you added “I included a list of what events will occur over the next few weeks, just in case you feel so inclined to cause more trouble. “
“Oh, I am always inclined to do so Miss Starrick.” Jacob said, dropping his voice in such a way that you felt a shiver go down your spine and for a moment, making you forget yourself.
Suddenly, the tension was broken by the sound of the front gate opening.
“You’d better go.” You said “Quickly.”
“Till next time, Miss Starrick.” Jacob said as he quickly turned and disappeared into the darkness.
As you started to walk back inside, you saw the carriage being driven around by the coachman. Without saying a word, you walked back inside and found yourself greeted by the sight of Crawford giving instructions to Worthington.
You knew you would not slip by him unnoticed, so as you passed him you said, “Good Evening Brother.”
Eyeing you critically, Crawford said a bit sternly “Good evening. And what might you be doing outside at this time of night?”
“Taking the air.” You said, heading towards the stairs. The less you had to speak with him the better.
Though as you climbed the stairs, you thought back to how just moments ago, you were speaking with your brothers sworn enemy, right at his own home. You could only imagine the fury Crawford would unleash if he knew that you were in Jacob Frye’s company, much less working against him, but now, you didn’t care. If all went well, Crawford’s plans would be ruined, and the Templar Order would be crushed.
“Enjoy what little time you have left at the top brother dear.” You thought to yourself. “I’m going to enjoy watching you fall.”
Seeing the information that you had given to Jacob attached the wall, both Evie and Henry stood in shock. Reading over the names you had written down, along with the list of Templar owned businesses, it made their blood run cold to realize that the Templar hold of London ran far deeper than they could have ever imagined.
They had expected perhaps the names of businessmen, but the number of names of those who where know Members of Parliament, other Government officials and even many members of the Aristocracy and the Royal Family themselves shocked them further.
Jacob observed Evie and Henry from the sofa with a smug feeling of satisfaction, that you not only delivered on the information, but that it was more than Henry had ever gathered in his time in London.
“How in the world did they get this?” Henry wondered aloud.
“From Starrick’s study.”
“His study?!” Evie asked not quite believing it.
“I told you dear sister, they are very close to the top.” Jacob replied a bit smugly.
“ Did they say why they are working against Starrick?” Henry said turning to Jacob.
“They don’t agree with Starrick’s plans….and Starrick in general.”
“But why would a Templar, close enough to get this information, suddenly have a change of heart?” Evie inquired. “What did Starrick do to inspire someone to turn like this?”
Thinking back to all the bits about living with Starrick that you had shared with him and the impression of you that he had formed, Jacob simply responded “Perhaps not everyone close to the Templar order is as heartless as Starrick is.”
Looking back to the names, many that he recognized, Henry thought to all the known information about properties, both personal and professional that they owned and said “This is not going to be an easy task. Do you have any idea where we might start?”
Reaching into his pocket for the list of Templar events and posting it to the board, Jacob said with a smile. “About that….”
The next day, over your morning tea tray, you were carefully going over the information you had learned last night. The upcoming weeks were to be full of fundraisers, dinners and at least one or two formal balls, all events that you knew that you would be attending.
You also knew that if you were going to charm the other Templar members into telling you what you needed to know, you would need a few things to help pull the wool over their eyes and that would include some new garments.
Crawford had always been tight fisted when it came to purchasing clothes and other things for you. While you were not being dressed in rags, Crawford and your father before him always complained loudly when the topic of purchasing things for you was broached, even when the money used was money set aside for you.
Asking Crawford for this would not be an easy task, but if your plan was to succeed, this was the only way.
Getting dressed, you went downstairs for breakfast. In the dining room sat Robert and Crawford, who were both discussing events reported in the paper. There was no sign of Caroline, but you knew she was enjoying the privileged of her married status and was dining on her own breakfast upstairs.
“Good Morning Brothers.” You said softly as you made your way to the side board and picked out what you wanted for your own breakfast, eggs and bits of ham. Sitting down, Worthington pour coffee for you and as you tucked in, you waited for your chance to speak to Crawford about your plans. So far, they hadn’t registered your presence.
You were perhaps midway through your meal when they seemingly noticed you.
“You’ll be accompanying Caroline this week. She has to supervise the upcoming benefit for Lambeth Asylum on Friday, and you will assist her.” Crawford said, as if you were a servant.
“Assist? More like do anything she doesn’t wish to do.” You thought to yourself. This wasn’t the first time that you had been given over to Caroline to help with an event and she always took pleasure in ordering you and others around. It was the one thing she did best. And knowing now what was in store for the next few weeks, you knew that this would just be the first of many events that you would be assisting with.
Remembering your plan from before you said hesitantly “About that Crawford…I wondered if I might have some new gowns”
“You have gowns.” He replied flatly as he shuffled and set aside the morning newspapers.
This would take more convincing
“Yes. but with all the events in the next few weeks, events that we will be overseeing, I…we need to be well represented. After all, you are always saying that the Starrick family should stand apart from others.” You explained, praying silently that appealing to Crawford’s ego would work. “It simply wouldn’t do if we didn’t”
Crawford glanced at you, a curious expression on his face. Never had he heard you speak of representing the family well and in the back of his mind wondered what you really had in mind.
“Just let her have them Crawford.” Robert added, eager to move on to other business he had that day.
“Very well. I’ll have Caroline take you to one of the shops later.” Crawford said relenting. Standing up from the table, Crawford left the room with Robert following suit. Not knowing when Caroline would want to leave, you quickly finished your breakfast and went to dress for the day. Even though it promised to not be pleasant, at least you could look forward to other things.
One the way to Lambeth to meet with the directors, Caroline fussed the entire way, as she always did anytime the two of you went somewhere. She fussed about how slowly you were traveling, the amount of people out and about, and even though it was a lovely warm late August day, she fussed about that as well.
Watching the people of London go on about their day, going into the different shops, laughing with neighbors and friends, it was something rather unfamiliar to you. Growing up in such a formal family as the Starrick’s, you could never imagine the others stopping to visit with friends in a pub, like you had before with Mister Frye.
Scattered though the crowds, you spotted a few members of his gang The Rooks walking about. Wondering if he was near bye, your eyes wandered for the sight of him in his long coat and top hat, more handsome than most. But to your disappointment, there was no sign of him.
Finally arriving at Lambeth, the directors were there at the front door to meet you and Caroline. Formally greeting you, you followed along and kept quiet as Caroline did what she did best and proceed to lord over the Asylum and the plans for the benefit, instantly making changes left and right. Looking at the fallen faces of the directors as they realized how much they would have to change in a short time, you felt a bit of pity for them.
Along the way, you saw the conditions of the Asylum, the ways in which many patients were kept and found yourself feeling revolted. For as much money as they raised to keep the place going, you guessed that most of it didn’t go to the Asylum, but to other people’s pockets. Knowing that only served to anger you further at how such a place was nothing more than a vanity project for the Templars.
Though you hadn’t spotted Jacob, he was in fact out and about in Lambeth. Scouting ahead for the evenings mission with Evie and Henry, they wanted to get the layout for several business that they would be “visiting” later. After scouting the locations, the three of you split up further and went to gather a group of Rooks for each one.
Walking near the Asylum, Jacob recalled the list that you had given him of different events. The first one was to take place later that week at the Asylum and knowing the conditions of the place Jacob could only shake his head at the idea of it being used as a place for an event.
For a moment his thoughts wandered to you, knowing you would be at such a gathering. Recalling how fetching you looked the evening before in your blue evening gown, he could only imagine just how lovely you would be in a ball gown.
Jacob knew he shouldn’t be thinking such thoughts about you. But lately he found his mind wandering back to the day he met you outside the Seven Bells, the day you came to him for help. He also recalled the meal you two had shared and the brief moments that the two of you had been able to meet in private. As the days went by, he found himself hoping he would catch a glimpse of you somewhere and even now, he was hoping for that.
As things were finally winding down, you and Caroline started to make your way back down to the entrance. You were nearly there when you overheard one of the orderlies speaking to another about how patients seemed to be dying more and more often lately, often going for “treatments” and coming back mangled. Guessing that the treatments had something to do with the Apple itself, you tried to listen a bit more, but there was none.
“Could the Apple be here?” You wondered silently as you walked down the steps towards the carriage. Mentally making a note to try and search the place the next time you came back, you said your goodbyes to the directors and waited for Caroline to enter the carriage.
Still watching from afar, Jacob saw that you had left the Asylum in the company of another finely dressed woman. From how you carried yourself, Jacob could tell that you didn’t wish to be there, but knew you had no choice.
Realizing that there was a chance that you would return there again soon before the benefit, Jacob smiled as he saw you enter the carriage and drive off. Though the next few days were sure to be full, there was always time for the company of a lovely young woman.
“Till next time Miss Starrick. I eagerly await your return.”
That evening, Jacob, Evie, Henry and members of the Rooks quietly made their way through the streets. Each assassin had hand selected a group that they wanted to take with them for each search, each member possessed a skill needed for the evenings mission.
Because there were so many Templar owned businesses and not knowing how much time they would have to find the Apple, Jacob, Evie and Henry had decided it would be best to have as many teams searching as possible. While the Rooks didn’t know about the search, they were excited nonetheless for a chance to have a bit of fun at the Blighters expense.
Arriving just outside a Templar owned factory, Jacob used his eagle vision to see if there were any guards to be dispatched. Seeing none, Jacob turned to his group and said “Alright lads, once inside, start tearing up anything and everything. Make it look like a real disaster. And if you happen to find anything that strikes your fancy, take it.”
Nodding their agreement, the Rooks followed Jacob to a side door. One of the Rooks, a young thief named Seth quickly picked the lock and opened the door. Walking in, seeing all the equipment and offices, Jacob sighed knowing they would be in for a long night.
“Have at it, lads.”
While Jacob and the others tore through several businesses, you spent the week searching the Asylum whenever you could. Before you would groan if Caroline would send you to fetch something, but this time, you took every opportunity to go fetch anything from storage or any other room.
If a door was unlocked, you went in and quickly searched. Surprised that so many were not, it only took a few days to search all the offices and supply rooms, but there was no sign of it anywhere. Along with quietly searching, you did your best to eavesdrop on the staff’s conversations, but they revealed little, other than the fact that they were unhappy about having to help with the fundraiser along with their normal duties.
Not having much luck left you feeling disappointed. You didn’t wish to go to Jacob empty handed, but every evening, Crawford had seen fit to be home locked in his office, sometimes alone, sometimes not. Every time you passed by, you would try to listen in, but with all the servants milling about, that was unsuccessful.
On the day of the fundraiser, you sat in front of your vanity as Alice the blonde head housemaid helped you get ready. After slipping on your light blue and white lace ballgown, Alice helped to style your hair into an elegant updo, chatting amiably with you as she worked.
“Are you excited for tonight Miss?” Alice asked as she added more pins to help hold your hair in place.
Truth be told you were not. After helping and searching all week, you were rather exhausted and knowing you would be spending the evening hunting for more information, served to make you less excited. But it had to be done.
“It’s another fundraiser. “You replied simply. “After a while, they all seem the same”
“Surely there will be some fun. Perhaps some handsome gentlemen will be there.” Alice replied, trying to lighten the mood a bit.
Instantly, thoughts of Jacob Frye dressed in a suit filled your mind. Though you knew he would not be attending such an event, a part of you wondered what it would be like to have him there. He would be far better company than the others.
“(Y/n) Its time!” You heard Crawford yelling impatiently
Sighing deeply, you took one last look in the mirror. Though you looked lovely, you were disappointed you would have to attend the event in an older gown. Because you had been so busy at Lambeth, there had been no time to visit the dress shops.
Grabbing your small purse, containing paper and pencil along with your fan, Alice grabbed your blue cloak and fastened it around you. Once ready, you went out the door, hoping the night would go quickly and hoping you could get just one bit of information.
Back on their private train, Jacob, Evie, and Henry compared notes on their raids. Despite searching a handful of businesses during the week, not one of them found any sign of the Apple and as they crossed the businesses off the list still pinned to the board, they noted just how many more would have to be searched.
“This list only covers a few boroughs” Evie noted wryly. “I wish we had more people to help us search. How soon can your source get more information, Jacob?”
“Dunno. I’ve not spoken to them since they gave me this list.” He answered as he rubbed his eyes. With how busy they had been, Jacob hadn’t had much time to go by the Asylum and every time he had, you were nowhere to be found. It had been frustrating in many ways and Evie’s questioning didn’t help.
Looking back to the board, Jacob saw the list of events. Recalling that the fundraiser was tonight, Jacob’s mood brightened a bit. Though the chance of getting to speak to you was slim, the chance to see you made it worth it.
Glancing out the window, Jacob saw that the train was pulling onto Lambeth. He walked towards the door, grabbing his cane sword and straightening his top hat a bit, hoping he looked a bit more dashing.
“Where are you off to Jacob?” Henry asked.
“To see how the other half lives.” Jacob replied with a devious smile. Instantly that smile made Evie worried for it always meant that Jacob planned to cause trouble.
“I’m coming with you.”
While wandering through the crowd at the Asylum, you went back and forth between chatting with some of the other guests and just simply listening in, all the while partaking in the wine. After the initial presentation, which involved using some of the Asylums worst cases to get others to open their pocketbooks, you needed a drink to keep your temper in check.
Observing all the guests in their finery, though they put on a good show, you could sense that very few wanted to be there. Those that were members of the Order were only there to show Crawford that they were setting an example of the leadership he so lectured them about in gatherings.
Crawford, Robert and Caroline remained side by side during the evening, chatting with other Order members and occasionally giving orders themselves. They had already made note of who had shown up to the event and how much they had donated for the Asylum. Crawford was fully aware of the finances of the other members, as the head of the Bank of England was a Templar himself, and those who didn’t donate as much as he felt they should risked having to answer to him later.
As you went to gather another glass of wine, you walked by several elderly order members, standing in a small circle, hoping to not be overheard.
“Two of my shops ransacked this week and Starrick doesn’t think it matters.” One furtively said.
“Your shops, someone raided all three of my factories in one night! Tore them up top to bottom. Damned guards were useless!”
“Had my safe at the office emptied and now I have to give money to this tonight?! I’ll be lucky if I have a pot to piss in at this rate.”
You didn’t have to listen in much longer to guess what had happened. Only one person would have the means to cause such chaos so quickly. As you picked up a goblet of wine, you drank deeply to keep yourself from smiling.
“Well done Mister Frye.”
Just outside Lambeth, Jacob and Evie watched events from the rooftop across the street. Once they had arrived, Evie used her eagle vision to watch for guards and was surprised to find none.
“So many Templars in one place and no guards…. Starrick must be feeling more brazen than usual.” Evie noted quietly. “A rather odd place for a party, even for them.”
Eager to see you, Jacob quickly hopped off the roof and climbed down. Reaching the ground, he swapped his top hat for his hood and carefully maneuvered closer to the Asylum. Evie quickly followed suit, and once at the gate, seeing there were guests outside, opted to jump over the fence. Once on the other side, both keeping their hoods up, they quietly made their way to a nearby window. Looking inside, they could see the fundraiser was still in full swing.
“I think I’ve seen livelier crowds at wakes.” Jacob said, noting the somber mood of most of the guests.
“This isn’t exactly having dinner at Buckingham, Jacob.”
“Still though…” Jacob started to trail off when through the crowd, he spotted you. Standing next to a group of ladies sipping on a glass of wine, Jacob noted that you were the most beautiful sight in the room.
“What is it?” Evie asked, noting that something had caught Jacob’s attention. Glancing at her twin, seeing the look on his face, Jacob looked as if he had spotted something ethereal.
“What?” He asked keeping his eyes on you.
“We had better get out of here before we are spotted.” Evie warned.
“You go ahead.”
“I’ll meet you later.” He replied, his voice trailing off as he watched you move about the room, chatting with the other guests, giving some of them a small smile.
“Be careful.” Evie spoke as she stood up and quietly left, still puzzled at what could have so entranced her brother.
Glancing at a nearby clock, you saw that it was 10:30. Though the fundraiser was still going on, after working on it all week, searching for the Apple and having to make small talk with the others, you were exhausted. Going to one of the servants, you asked for your cloak to be brought to you. No sooner had they handed it to you, you heard “Going somewhere?”
You didn’t have to turn around to know who it was.
“Yes Crawford, I am going home.” You replied a bit tartly.
“The fundraiser isn’t over.” He spoke in that stern voice he always used to try and cow you into submission.
“It is for me brother. Good night.” You retorted as you wrapped your cloak around your shoulders and walked off, not caring who noticed.
Quickly spotting you putting on your cloak, Jacob stepped away from the window. Knowing this might be his only chance tonight, he moved as quickly and quietly as he could towards the front door. His mind racing, he spotted an unattended carriage nearby.
Stepping out of the Asylum, you walked towards the front gate and looked for any available coaches. No sooner had you reached it than one pulled up to you, the driver seemingly covered in darkness.
“Starrick Mansion, Westminster Please.” You instructed as you climbed in. Leaning back, you were glad to be off your feet for a few moments and glad to be alone. Though you had little new information, you did know that Mister Frye was already making more trouble as he had promised to.
Shortly after, the carriage pulled up to the mansion. As you opened your purse to take out some money for the driver, you felt the carriage move and the door open. In stepped in a very familiar and welcome sight.
“Mister Frye! What are you doing here?” You asked incredulously.
“Escorting a lady home.” He replied with a large, charming smile of his as he took a seat across from you.
“Were you waiting for me at Lambeth?”
“Perhaps…” Jacob said raising his brow, teasing in that deep tone of his.
“I can’t say I am surprised. You were fortunate you weren’t caught though.”
“It wouldn’t have been the first time.” He shrugged. “Did you have any luck tonight?”
“Not much. Though I am happy to report that your activities have not gone unnoticed.” You replied. “And I am sad to report the Apple isn’t at Lambeth. At least not as far as I can tell.”
“You searched?” He asked.
“As much as I could.” You replied sadly.
“Unfortunately, we haven’t had much luck either. We found everything but the Apple.” Jacob said.
“Damn it all.” You swore, surprising Jacob a bit. Sighing deeply, “Well we’ll just have to keep looking. I am still trying to get back into Crawford’s study for more. He seems to be spending more time there lately.”
“Do you think he suspects?”
“If he does, he has given no indication.” You noted. “The others didn’t seem to think he was bothered by your activities.”
“Well, if he wasn’t before, he will be soon enough.” Jacob replied, a playful yet devious smile crossing his face, a smile you couldn’t help but mimic. The idea of Crawford being knocked down always gave you cause to smile and being able to help with it even more so. But having the help of the assassins, especially one like Jacob Frye made it thrilling.
“Is he home now?” Jacob asked curiously.
“I’ve an idea. Wait here a moment.” You said eagerly as you stepped out of the carriage. Walking into the house, you quickly spotted Worthington walking to take your cloak.
“Good Evening Miss.” He addressed you in his dulcet voice.
“Good Evening. I must rush up and grab some money for the carriage.” You said, quickly walking past him. Once at the top of the stairs, you made a beeline for Crawford’s study. Checking the door handle, it was unlocked. Walking inside, you went to the shelf and grabbed the directory again. As you went to take pen and paper again, you realized that soon enough the fundraiser would be over, and Crawford and the others would soon return. Not only that, there was not telling when you would have the chance to get back in. There was only one thing to do.
After watching you go inside, Jacob stepped out of the carriage and climbed back into the driver’s seat. Keeping himself as hidden as possible in the darkness, he hoped that Starrick was still at Lambeth. After a few moments, he heard the door open and saw you step back out, still in your cloak.
Walking up to him, you pulled something out from inside and handed it to him.
“Something that might help in your search.” You noted with a sly grin.
“Will he notice it gone?” Jacob asked quietly
“I don’t know. Which means you will have to copy it quickly and bring it back as soon as possible” You explained.
Tucking it in his coat, Jacob smiled, knowing Evie and Henry would enjoy what he was bringing to them.
“I’ll bring it back tomorrow night. Back by the gate.”
“Come at 10. And do not be late.” You warned.
“I wouldn’t dare. Good night Miss Starrick.” Jacob tipped his hat and snapped the reins, quickly disappearing down the street and into the darkness.
As the evening was ending at Lambeth, Crawford, Robert and a few of the others went with some of the directors down to the cellar of the asylum. Bellow was several hidden rooms, rooms used exclusively by the Order for business.
Reaching a red door, the group walked in saw Doctor Eliot Johnson, one of their best doctors along with Lucy Thorn. Both were standing at a table, on which lay the Apple of Eden on a dark cloth. On the floor were several mangled corpses. Whose they were, Crawford did not know or care.
“I take it your experiments have failed again Doctor.” Crawford noted, in a tone that hid his irritation.
“Well Sir, we are still trying to find the right one.” Doctor Johnson stammered. “It’s taking longer than we thought.”
Quickly getting in Doctor Johnson’s face, Crawford spoke menacingly “I am beginning to think you are not the right doctor for this. You have had this here for weeks now and so far, you have produced nothing but corpses, corpses that I must pay to dispose of. “
“Crawford” Lucy spoke trying to calm things down. “Perhaps you should let me handle this. I know the pieces better than anyone.”
“If you knew them better than anyone, our plans would have already been further underway, and I wouldn’t not be down here having this conversation. And need I remind you; I have already pushed them back once.” Crawford spoke viciously as he turned to face her.
“Please Grandmaster” Doctor Johnson pleaded, certain that he was one step away from death. “I can feel we are close. We just need more time.”
“Your time runs dangerously thin Doctor. You have one more week to give me results. Before I find a new doctor.” Crawford warned as he turned and walked out of the room, Robert following behind him, leaving all the room incredibly nervous.
Robert kept pace with Crawford as they made their way back upstairs. “Are you certain we should be keeping it here?” He asked.
“Why wouldn’t we?” Crawford asked thinly.
“I’ve heard from the directors that the staff are getting suspicious.”
“The staff are not being paid for that.” Crawford snarked as they reached the stairs.
“Still though brother, in light of these robberies, perhaps we should keep the Apple on the move.” Robert suggested. “Lest we risk a repeat of Doctor Brewster’s laboratory.”
As the reached the top of the stairs, Crawford paused a moment as he considered Robert’s advice.
“Very well. I will put you in charge of it. See if you can’t get results faster. “Crawford spoke as he opened the door. Robert followed him closely, silently hoping he could get the results. Crawford’s patience only extended so far.
Aboard Bertha, Evie Frye was settling in for the evening. Having put another log on the hearth and made a pot of tea, she wandered over to her collection of books looking for a bit of light reading to help her wind down.
“So, which one will it be tonight?” She murmured aloud as she scanned over the books, half of which she’d already read.
“How about something different for a change?” Came a familiar voice. Looking behind her, she spotted Jacob, holding a large black book with a large grin on his face.
“And what pray tell is that?” Evie asked, curious to know what kind of book could ever get Jacob’s attention.
Still grinning he handed the book over to Evie and eagerly awaited her reaction. He was not disappointed for seconds after Evie opened it and glanced at the first few pages, her eyes all but popped out of their sockets.
“This is…” She yelped, quickly scanning through the next few pages.
“A complete directory of the Templar Order.” Jacob said smugly as he crossed over and plopped himself on the couch, pleased as punch about Evie’s reaction. “From Starrick’s office no less.”
“When did you get this?” Evie asked, still looking through the book.
“Just picked it up from my source. They had the chance to sneak it out tonight.”
At that last sentence, Evie looked up and gazed at Jacob, guessing what was next.
“How much time we have to copy this?” Evie asked
“Till tomorrow night.”
Looking to the clock, Evie saw that it was close to midnight. It had already been a busy day, but there was no time to waste. And with how detailed the directory was, this was going to take hours.
“Good thing I made tea.” She muttered.
It took more time than both Frye twins expected. The first hour or so was spent trying to decide the more efficient way to copy the directory, Jacob wanting to simply copy page by page, while Evie wanted to organize as they worked. Once they had decided on a system, they worked to not only copy everything, but to plan out their next few searches.
By 6 am, they had gone through several pots of tea, and both Frye’s could hardly see straight. Having not slept much the previous nights, it took all their focus to make it to the last few pages and once they did, Evie closed the directory and wandered back to her quarters to try and get a bit of sleep.
Jacob himself collapsed on the sofa, not bothering to remove any clothing or gear. All the names and places were still swimming in his head as he drifted off to sleep, with one name coming back to the fore many times: yours.
Throughout the day, the Rooks came and went. Several had hoped to ask the boss about some assignments, but word quickly spread that he was fast asleep on the sofa and hadn’t budged all day. Best to let him rest, they all thought. The rest could wait.
That evening at the Starrick Mansion, you and the rest of the Starrick’s were entertaining several colleagues of Crawford’s who were in London for a brief visit. During the meal, you did your best to keep up with the conversations and keep an eye on the clock.
At nearly a quarter till nine, all of you were still at the dinner table, with Crawford giving no indication of when he would dismiss the ladies to the drawing room. As each minute passed, you grew more and more anxious, as you still hadn’t come up with a way to get yourself excused from the table.
At ten till 9, Jacob finally stirred from his sleep. Sitting up slowly, he stretched out his arms and legs, a tad stiff from not moving much at all. As he wiped the sleep from his eyes, he glanced out the window and saw to his surprise that it was dark, and the train was in Victoria Station. Quickly glancing to the clock, he saw he had less than nine minutes to meet you.
“Bugger me!” He bellowed as he bolted from the sofa. As he reached the door, he quickly realized that he had forgotten the directory. Grabbing it off the desk, he took off from the train at top speed, nearly knocking others over as he dashed through the station.
“Please be there (Y/N)”
At nine p.m., Crawford was still deep in conversation with his visitors over steel prices in America. Not only that, but the last course still hadn’t been served yet, so there was no end in sight. No end and still no idea how to escape and with how Crawford grumbled, faking another headache would only make it worse.
Arriving just outside the gate at 9pm sharp, Jacob quickly looked about for you, but to his horror, you were nowhere in sight. You had warned him not to be late, and he wondered if you had already gone back in or had not had the chance to come outside yet.
As carefully as he could, he jumped the fence and bringing up his hood, Jacob carefully made his way through the garden. Walking around the large house, he peaked in the windows to see if he could spot you and it was a few moments before he reached the dinning room. Looking through, he spotted you still sitting at dinner, looking anxious.
Planting himself against the wall, Jacob’s mind raced at what to do. There was no telling when you could get away and if he left the directory by the gate, there was nothing to stop one of the servants from finding it and turning it in to Crawford.
Jacob reached into his pockets, hoping that perhaps he might have a pencil or something to leave a note for you, but there was none. Though in one pocket, he felt something rather soft and instantly, he had an idea.
Crawford’s latest speech at the table was interrupted by the sound of the bell at the door.
“Who’s here at this hour?” Robert wondered.
Worthington nodded for one of the footmen, a tall, blonde headed boy named James to answer the door.
Quickly walking out and opening the door, James was greeted by a gentleman dressed in a dark coat and hat, their face hidden, holding a wrapped bundle
“For Miss “(Y/N) came a low voice as they handed the bundle to him. Before James could get a name, the person quickly turned and left. Shrugging it off, James walked back inside and back to the dining room. Greeted at the door by Worthington, he handled the bundle to him, who quickly brought it to you.
“For you Miss”
Taking it from him, you hoped to simply keep it in your lap, until you noticed everyone was looking at you expectantly.
“Just a book I sent for. I’d best put it away. Excuse me.” You quickly explained as you stood up and left the table.
Walking out of the dining room, you quickly walked up the stairs. Once you reached the top, you looked to make sure no one was watching and snuck into Crawford’s office.
Looking down at the bundle, you saw that it was somewhat crudely wrapped. Pulling apart the thick red knot, you pulled at the cloth and saw that inside was the directory. Relieved that it was back, you quickly put it back on the shelf.
Still holding the cloth and ribbon, you went to toss it in the bin until something on the cloth caught your eye. In one corner of the white linen, there was carefully stitched a green bird holding a chess piece. Below that were the initials, J.F. in simple stitching.
Realizing that he had used a handkerchief to wrap the directory, you giggled a bit and deciding to take a closer look at the ribbon, you saw that far from a simple ribbon, it was a silk tie, the same red one you had seen before, around the neck of one certain disreputable gentleman.
“Very clever, Mister Frye.” You smiled gently at the thought of him using what he could to get the directory to you.
Though it made you smile, you knew you couldn’t simply bin the handkerchief or the tie. Deciding to hang onto them for now, you placed them into your pocket and went to rejoin the others, your thoughts filled by a certain gangster, one with a preference for green and one who you hoped you would see again soon