“You have to meet with Harry Stafford, he's the new leader of the Whitechapel gang, the Clinkers that remains standing against the Blighters” Henry told the twins as they sat across from him in his Curio shop. The twins recently arrived to London with eager hearts to free London from Starrick’s and the Templars clutches.
“Why is he the new leader?” Jacob asked with a sigh of irritation. Jacob had plans on starting his own gang to eliminate the Blighters that are a strong bolt in the Templar control on London, he did not seem the need for the alliance of another gang that couldn't even keep its own territory safe.
“Because his father was killed nearly 2 weeks ago, under the leader of the Blighter’s Roth order. He will wish to see the Blighters fall, they have a number of men that still live in other boroughs that would be willing to join the Rooks. If you gain his trust and alliance you will have connections throughout the city. His family is very well respected in the Underworld of London. The Rooks will surely thrive with some of their connections.” Henry explained to the twins, casually gaining an eye roll from Jacob who clearly still objected the idea even with Henry’s vast knowledge of this gang. Jacob sighed with a sense of defeat as Evie glared at him.
“Well let’s get a meeting then.” Jacob said in a dry tone.
Lenora found herself stepping on to the platform of the Whitechapel train station with a sense of relief being lifted from her shoulders. It was just as she remembered breathing in the dirty air of London. “Oh how I miss this.” She thought to herself. No one could ever truly understand her love for this place. Whitechapel was stricken poverty, crime and dirt but this was where she was born and raised. This was her borough, this was home. The moment her feet hit that platform she knew she was home, this is where she would stay.
“No more running.” She whispered to herself as her feet began to move. The fabric of her black skirt brushed the dirty tiled floor of the train platform. She stepped to the side straightening out the black and purple bodice of her dress that clung to her like a second skin, a few train employees piled her suitcases and trunks to the side of the platform. Her long black curls that were pulled out of her face but still hung down to the middle of her back bounced as she moved looking for an escort. Lenora’s gaze met 3 men on the end of the platform dressed in a red uniform she recognized from a year ago before she left. Bringing back some haunting memories. She closed her eyes quickly and took three deep breaths trying to forget the memories that were haunting her when she heard a man clear his throat. She shot her eyes opened and was met with a men standing in front of her with a black and dark purple uniform on. A uniform she also recognized but one that brought comfort. The man that stood in front of her was a Clinker, a member of the gang her father ran out of Whitechapel.
“Good day Miss Stafford.” He greeted me as he tipped his cap to me.
“Hello.” I smiled back as I nodded to him. He looked familiar to her as she began to examined his face, he surely was a Clinker she knew the name of as she searched her head for it.
“We best be gettin’ on.” He said to the four Clinker accompanying him as he pointed to the trunks and suitcases. My father sent 5 Clinkers to pick me up from the train station was a rarity, usually one would do.
“George!” Lenora cheered when she remembered his name. He had grown up in the last year since the last time she saw him. “How are you?” He was a few years older than Lenora but it seemed like her had grown into his features. She was taken back by how handsome she found him now.
“I’ve been okay, I’m happy to see you back Lenora. But we really must be going.” He stressed as he glance in the Blighters way that were now focus on their direction noticing the large amount of Clinkers. As the other Clinkers gathered her belongings George escorted Lenora to the carriage waiting outside the train station. She found herself confused on the rush and the slight panic in Georges step. She wouldn’t think she’d be aloud back home if it wasn't safe for her to do so. Her father was protective in that sense.
She lived a normal childhood having two loving parents, and two annoying older brothers. They had always lived atop of the pub her father owned and ran, their life seemed perfect for a family in Whitechapel. Growing up Lenora had anything she ever desired and never questioned where anything came from. Her mother always bought her the finest dresses, hats and shoes, dressing her as if she was the Princess. Lenora’s childhood changed when she first felt what losing someone she loved felt like. Her mother, at the tender age of 8 passed away from an illness that was never really explained to her. With time she healed, remembering those 8 loving years she had with her mother but to only meet that same feeling when she was 12 again, when her eldest brother Jesse was killed in an act to show who ran London. This was the same time she found out her fathers true job, he wasn't just the local pub owner but the local gang leader. As she thinks back to the time she could believe she missed all the indications that there was something more going on then just him owning a pub. The constant dealings in the backrooms, hush whispers among the men in the pub. Her father also ran a number of gambling facilities & fight clubs across Whitechapel with some in Lambeth and Southwark as well.
She never wanted to ever admit she was as damaged as she was after experienced her brothers death, she grew thinking that time again would heal the wound on losing another loved one. Time did eventually heal that wound as well but it had help. It was the most recent incident, one that had happened just over a year ago that forced her away from this place she called home. The one wound she never knew if time would ever be able to heal.
Henry and the twins walked in to a decent sized pub called the King’s Corner, Henry approached the barkeep as he pointed to an empty booth that was in the farthest corner of the pub that was tucked away from the view of prying eyes. Henry motioned for the twins to follow him into the booth. They pushed in the booths bench as they awaiting the gang leaders arrival. Jacob tapped his finger on the table as his impatience grew waiting for the leader when the door behind the bar swung open. Two men, large men in matching purple and black uniforms came out followed by another man, who was taller than the men that guard him but had a more slender built. His leather jacket match the colours the other two were wearing. The chatter in the pub stopped as the other looked upon the man, his boots clicked on the floor as he made his way to the booth. The chatter began again as he reached the table taking the side of the booth opposite to the three assassins.
“Good day Mr. Green.” He greeted with a nodded to Henry before continuing. “Now what is this meeting about that you requested, I am a busy man.” His gaze fell upon the other two that were accompanying Henry.
“First I want to send my deepest condolences to you and your sister at this time.” Henry began to explain himself. Jacob perked up at the mention of a sister, Henry did not mention a sister before hand. “Secondly, I come with associates that carry the same wish your father had, free London from the control of the Blighters and the forces behind them.”
“Hello, I am Evie Frye.” Evie spoke first before anyone else could. Introducing herself and her brother. “And this is my twin brother Jacob Frye.” She pointed to Jacob as he gave a smile to the gang leader that sat across from him with a slight raised eyebrow.
“Hello, I am Harry Stafford. Leader of the Clinkers.” He introduced himself with a small sense of arrogance in his tone, like they should already know of him. Harry stood about 6’5”, slender built, his nearly black hair bought out the pale skin tone he had more.
“We would like to help get rid of the Blighters, my brother wants to start his own gang. We have the resources to train the men to fight well.” Evie explained to the leader.
“I’ve heard.” He hummed as he sipped on a pint that was placed in front of him nearly a minute ago. “I’ve heard the whispers on the street of a new gang attempting to start up, with the backing of some Assassins. What are they called again?”
“The Rooks.” Jacob hissed through his teeth, he did not like feeling like her was being talked down to. He stared Harry down in the eyes as he began to speak again.
“Ahh, Yes. That’s it. The Rooks. And what do you need me for then?” He asked with a friendly tone of curiosity in his voice.
“We would like to join forces with you, you have our back, we will have yours. With our training, your resources I believe we could crush the Blighter’s control over the city.” Jacob explained trying to be friendly to the leader. Harry’s attention turned to the entrance to the pub as a black carriage pulled up and a Clinker entered and approached one of the men guarding the booth, he whispered something and turned back out to the street. The man that took the message leant down to Harry and whispered. “She’s here sir.” to him.
“Well, I am in. Whatever it takes to destroy the Blighters I will help with.” Harry accepted our proposal of an alliance. “But if you do excuse me, my sister has just arrived. We shall resume this meeting at a later date as I have to inform my sister of our fathers death.” Harry explained as he got up from the table, shaking Jacob and Henry’s. He headed out the entrance of the pub opening the carriage door, a small hand grasped his as he helped the women out of the carriage. As Jacob got up from the table the women stepped from the carriage and Jacob got the first look of her. She had silky long black hair that were in loose curls that shimmered in the sun, her complexion matched her brothers. He was completed breathless with seeing this beauty women held.
“You never mentioned a sister Greenie!” Jacob laughed at Henry as he stood admiring the women.
“That would be Lenora Stafford, the Clinkers and people of Whitechapel have a nickname for her you might her from time to time.” Henry explained to the twins as Harry took his sister by the arm and lead her along the streets to the back of the pub.
“And what is that?” Evie asked curiously.
“The Princess of Whitechapel.” Henry smiled at Evie. “She carries her fathers attitude towards this borough. She sees the beauty where people see scum.” Jacob took one last glance at her as her figure disappeared behind the building. Jacob had no idea what the feeling was that was building up in his stomach when he looked upon her but he knew he had to get to know her.
Harry lead Lenora up to their flat above the pub, through the back door the used mostly. the Clinkers that met her at the station followed with her trunks and suitcases as Henry had two brute Clinkers follow him as his father always did. Lenora noted that she thought it was odd as it was usually reserved for the leader of the gang. Lenora feet carried her up the stairs as Harry opened the door for her, the two brutes staying posted at the entrance to the home. She sat down her black parasol down next to a bench by the back door, She pressed her way into the house looking around for a sight of her father Harry followed her with a somber expression on his face, knowing the news he was about to deliver to his sister.
“Where is father?” Lenora asked as they made their way into the parlour room.
“Please sit down Lenny.” Harry motion to the chesterfield.
“What’s wrong Harry? I can read you like a book.” She questioned her obviously saddened brother. She sat down next to her now sitting brother when he dropped his eyes to the ground not being able to look his sister in the eyes when he delivered the news, knowing what it was about to do to her. In that moment she realized why she had been called home.
“Nearly two weeks ago, father was killed. This is why I wrote you to come home. I am sorry Len, I couldn’t tell you in a letter.” Harry’s voice shook when he spoke as if he was holding back tears.
“What happened?” Lenora asked in a dry tone, throwing Harry off.
“Roth ordered him dead. It was an ambush on his carriage.” He quietly explained to his sister as her eyes began to fill with tears. Ambushes. A thing that tugged at her heart. “I wasn't there. He was shot and could not recover.”
“You’re the leader now?” She asked as she began to cry as she fell into her brothers arms, sobbing on his shoulder.
“Yes, Len.” He replied, patting her head in a soothing motion. “We may have a sliver lining, a new gang is forming. I have hope.” He attempted to sound reassuring to his now distraught sister as she sobbed into his jacket. “I am scared as hell Lenny, believe me. But I know everything will turn out for the good, but I needed you here and not in some poshy place called Brighton. I miss him everyday Len.” Harry soothed his sister as she began to cease her crying for now. Her sparkling blue eyes were now red and puffy, her pale skin red with her cries. Harry lead his sister up and lead her to her bedroom down the short hallway off the parlour. She began to sniffle again attempting to hold back more cries. Harry opened the bedroom door as she looked around. It was exact as she remembered. Walls plastered in a dark purple wall paper, gold painted finished furniture and the centre of attention, her bed that was painted gold with a black canopy that hungover the four post that stood eight feet from the ground, the black satin linens with grey paisley detailing through the fabric dressed the bed. Lenora sat upon her bed as Harry looked at his sister.
“Why does everyone I love die Harry? Am I cursed?” She said after a moment of reflection. Harry was taken back by her question and rushed to her side as he sat on the bed.
“I am still here. You are not cursed sister, you will find love again. Get some rest, I will have Mary bring in your clothing and get it all put away.” Harry spoke softly to his sister. He understood how over protective their father was of her and he promised him to continuing to look out for her to his father before his father passed. He planned on making sure if anyone would be alright it would be Lenora. He got up from his position, he placed his hand on his sisters shoulder. “Everything will be okay, I promise.” She tried to reassure her again. He turned on his heels and headed out of her bedroom to allow Lenora to be alone for a while in attempt for her to get some rest. She sat there for what felt like eternity starring at the wall across from her, not saying a word, not shedding a single tear as her mind wandered and screamed inside. She got up from her position and started undressing herself, still being silent. She finally found herself in her nightgown as she drew her curtains shut, unfortunately her windows looked out to the street so the carriages and chatter that was a the streets of Whitechapel still made it through the thin glass and fabric of the drapes, but it was okay as once she snuggled herself into her big bed and rested her face to the pillow she realized she would be crying herself to sleep tonight.