Torg

Episode Seven: Wizard's Shame

Don't kill the pets!

Act One – Fathers and Daughters

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Enjoying a peaceful picnic in Hyde Park, the Storm Knights are approached by Tolwyn of House Tancred, who is need of some assistance. Aysle’s Home Guard has intercepted an assassin from the Cyberpapacy who was sent to slay a wizard loyal to Pella Ardinay by the name of Duncan. Tolwyn asks the group to look in on Duncan to make sure that no ill has befallen him (and definitely not to kill his pets if things unexpectedly get out of hand). The group agrees and prepares for the journey by going shopping and having tea at the Ritz. Or just waiting for hours and hours in the truck, in Marshall Roger’s case.

Arriving at Duncan’s cottage near Dover, our heroes find it deserted and, in the course of their investigations, accidentally trigger a magical defence system that shrinks them all to only a few inches in height. Duncan’s pets – a snake, three clever rats, and a parrot transformed into a dragonet – are now something of a problem. Things unexpectedly get out of hand, and so the Storm Knights kill the snake and the dragonet. Although they feel bad about doing so. Maybe. After the fires have gone out, further investigation reveals that Duncan’s daughter Victoria appears to have been kidnapped by a certain Dr. Randall of the Orrorsh School of Medicine in Calais. Randall is very politely coercing Duncan into murdering Bishop Bernard of Calais in return for Victoria’s freedom.

Our heroes guess that shenanigans are afoot – Randall was also responsible for alerting the Cyberpapacy to Duncan’s intentions to murder the bishop, which is why the Cyberpapacy sent an assassin to stop him. Guessing that Orrorsh might be trying to force Aysle into open conflict with the Cyberpapacy, the group decides to follow Duncan to France. They learn that Duncan has used the Channel Tunnel to avoid the reality storms that wrack the border between the two realms, and follow suit. With Kuranath’s aid, they pass through the Ayslish end of the tunnel and brave the subterranean reality storm that bars their way. Crossing into the French half of the tunnel, the Knights discover that it has been fortified by Cyberpapal forces, including gospog of multiple plantings, a cygoyle, and a transformed cybertroll. Naturally, they fight.

Act Two – Victoriana

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Battle rages beneath the Channel! Rosa pins Gralor the cybertroll under the bumper of the truck while Ragnar pummels him into unconsciousness and tries to pull his head off. Emily dispatches gospogs with precision grenade fire (a term you don’t hear that often, actually) while Rick engages the cygoyle in airborne combat. Jaidyn, meanwhile, hacks a pair of Cyberpapacy gun turrets, turning them against their foes. The battle draws the attention of both the Resistance and the Cyberpapal authorities – the former provide handy escape transport when the latter bring down the tunnel roof with unwise shellfire from a hover tank. As the North Sea floods in through the breach, Rosa drives the group to safety through a heaving tide of freezing water and masonry.

Emerging in Cyberpapal France, our heroes hole up with their new Resistance friends, Rico, Lisette, and Christophe. While Christophe deals with spyware in the group’s captured Cyberpapacy gear, Lisette discovers that Duncan has been captured and is set to be burned alive at a special midnight mass at the local cathedral. The Knights decide to rescue Victoria from Dr. Randall before saving her father, so Rico arranges for disguises and transport to allow them to infiltrate the Orrorsh School of Medicine. While Rick and Jaidyn take up position on the school’s roof, the others work their way to its secure wing in search of Victoria. They manage to get as far as Randall’s lab before their ruse is finally discovered – by none other than the good doctor himself.

Randall is every bit the Victorian gentleman doctor – meaning that he is secretly a werewolf, unleashes a Frankenstein-like monster against our heroes, grabs the hapless Victoria, and drags her to the school’s rooftops to do battle in the pouring rain. The Storm Knights slay his monster, pursue him, and proceed to pound him mercilessly. Even when a ravagon comes to Randall’s aid, the doctor is unable to resist their furious onslaught and naturally falls from the rooftop to lie battered and broken on the rain-soaked earth below. Ragnar helpfully breaks both of his arms. With the ravagon likewise dispatched and Victorian soldiers closing in, our heroes flee as rapidly as they can – taking both the liberated Victoria and the captured Randall with them. They head directly to the cathedral for a reckoning with Bishop Bernard and the wizard Duncan…

Act Three – Midnight Murder

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Approaching the cathedral, the Storm Knights see several Church Police checkpoints set up around the square. Some quick talking by Rosa gets them through without further scrutiny, and they convince a deeply unnerved Randall to admit that he has manipulated the bishop and the wizard. If Randall admits this to the bishop, perhaps Duncan will be spared. Emily slips into the cathedral for a meeting with Bernard and arranges a handover. Even as the Knights enter the cathedral under Church Police escort, Marshall Rogers – circling high above – notices APCs establishing a perimeter around the building. He alerts the others. It is clear that Bishop Bernard cannot be trusted.

Within the cathedral, as hundreds gather to see Duncan burned alive, the group begins tense negotiations with the bishop. Initially, Bernard is unwilling to surrender Duncan – as a heretic, the wizard must burn. But our heroes convince him that Randall is the true prize. Not only is the good doctor a monster in human form, but he has been experimenting on the citizens of Calais and is breeding gospog in the School of Medicine for some unknown purpose. Randall tries to lie his way out of the predicament but, under extreme duress, confesses. He admits that he was ordered to foment conflict between the Cyberpapacy and Aysle on the orders of the current regent of Orrorsh – a techno-demon from Tharkold known as Thratchen.

Bishop Bernard briefly considers betraying the Storm Knights and burning both Duncan and Randall, but his loyal underling François reminds him of the importance of keeping his word, and the bishop relents, ordering the Church Police to free the wizard. Unfortunately, this proves to be an unwise move. The GodNet is watching the proceedings and manifests a Host – a vengeful holographic angel – which excommunicates Bernard on the spot for cutting a deal with heretics and attacks the Storm Knights. Only the arrival of Kuranath gives our heroes an avenue of escape and they are soon clambering atop the dragon for a frantic race back to Ayslish reality.

The Storm Knights hurtle through the streets of Calais on dragonback, with the Host, Church Police APCs, and a quartet of cygoyles in pursuit. The battle wreaks havoc throughout old Calais, but our heroes manage to evade or destroy their pursuers and, thanks to Cleophee’s superior riding skills, are soon streaking out over the Channel towards Aysle. But even the journey home is not without mishap. Their loyal ally Rico disconnects in the reality storm, perishing as his cyberheart fatally malfunctions. Back in Aysle, Tolwyn thanks the Knights for their aid, but brings sore news of defeat at the hands of Uthorion’s forces. Despite honour, sacrifice, and heroism, still the forces of the Dark grow ever more powerful. Earth’s battle is far from over…

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