Blackmorn’s List

Learmouth and the Crone were eager to bring back to life their old network of spies and informers, to accomplish this they needed Blackmorn’s list. They knew where it was concealed; a secret compartment under the floor- boards in the hall of Stamford Manor, the home for the last twenty years of Master Bowman Jenkins and his family.

In the secret compartment lay a small oaken casket, a miniature coffin inside it two parchment scrolls were concealed. One was a list of the thirteen conspirators and the other was a list of the lands, estates and treasure promised to each conspirator in return for their treachery.

Learmouth and the Crone were convinced that the oaken casket remained undiscovered because, while they did not know all the names, they did know of three; Charnley, De’Merly the merchants and of course Lord Mordridd. The contents of the small oaken casket were a death sentence to all that were named and Mordridd, Charnley and De’Merly still lived.

Attached to the signed list-of-names parchment was half of a small thin silver bar with the Blackmorn coat of arms etched into the metal. Each of the small thin silver bars was cut with a serrated edge, in a slightly different angle, through the centre of the coat of arms, so that each could only be a perfect match to the other half. A portable and deadly token to be matched as a proof of authenticity. One half remained in the casket, attached through a hole by a thin red ribbon beside each of the traitor’s signatures. The other half of the thin silver bar was kept by those that were named. If Learmouth could recover the oaken casket, then blackmail or simple fear would guarantee the revival of the conspirators ring, no matter the passage of time or how well they had done during King Idris’s peace.

 The oaken casket and its contents must be recovered at all costs, even the thought of other gaining possession of the small coffin shaped box was not to be countenanced. Learmouth smiled to himself, thinking that, though clearly insane at the end of his life, Blackmorn had at least been cunning enough to leave the oaken casket behind.

Learmouth and the Crone began planning the theft of the oaken casket, sitting by a roaring fire in the study. Learmouth would become an honest wool merchant; he would buy wool fairly, and at good prices in the north of the country. When he had sufficient produce, he would cross England from east to west at its narrowest point following Hadrian’s Wall, and there load the wool on to a trading ship to take him south to Anglesey. Once there, he would trade the wool for gold. The gold to be used to pay for the people he needed to help him steal the casket.

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