Black Chamber: The Dossiers

DOSSIER #BC0001–1588

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The shadowy organization operating behind the scenes throughout the novel Black Chamber: Paradise Lost did not materialize overnight. The powerful organization was centuries in the making. Let’s travel back in time and see if we can get a glimpse of how it all came to be.

November 6th, 1588
Windsor Castle, England

It was two hours past sundown, the sky was dark and heavy with clouds. It had rained earlier that evening, and the air was damp and chill. Francis stood alone in the darkness, at the foot of The Curfew Tower, as the wet grass beneath his feet sapped the warmth from his body. He awaited a messenger bringing news from France. The messenger was one of many who comprised a vast intelligence network, created by Francis himself. Covert rendezvous such as this were not uncommon for Francis, and he had spent years developing his network of spies. He had become so skilled at intercepting correspondence, and developing a sophisticated network of code experts and informers, he had become known as Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster.

Sir Francis Walsingham had been the principal secretary to Queen Elizabeth I of England since 1573. Though the duties of his office were not specifically defined, he had complete control of all royal correspondence, as well as determining the agenda for all council meetings. For fifteen years Sir Francis had worked to create an organization with the power to shape, and change, the destiny of nations. With each passing year, his intelligence network’s power and influence had grown. For centuries, nations around the world had operated secret rooms, or Black Chambers, with the purpose of breaking codes and intercepting official government correspondence. Sir Francis had taken this concept to a whole new level. Now, he stood waiting in the night for the last piece of information he needed in order to direct the destiny of France, the centuries old rival of England.

 The night was still, and any noises from within the castle could not penetrate the thirteen-foot thick walls to where Francis stood. He began to hear faint foot falls coming steadily toward him. His fingers closed around the hilt of the dagger at his waist. Out of the pitch black night, the figure of a man dressed in dark clothing began to materialize. He walked right up to Sir Francis, and without a word spoken, handed him a thick envelope bearing the royal seal of King Henry III of France. The messenger disappeared as quickly as he had appeared, and Sir Francis once again stood alone in the night. His fingers brushed over the seal, and found it intact. He smiled at the darkness, and then headed back toward the Norman Gate where his horse awaited his return. His plot to remove King Henry III from the throne of France would soon come to fruition and he would, yet again, reshape the course of history.

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