The Madness of Angels, episode 5

Pren­tiss flat­tens a stew­ard; Cur­ruthers shoul­ders the load.

Played

3rd Feb­ru­ary 2011.

Dramatis Personae

  • Lady Anto­nia deVorea Heav­i­ly-armed Aris­to­crat (play­er not present).
  • Cap­tain Ben­son Cur­ruthersa Mil­i­tary Police­man.
  • Doc­tor Zepha­ni­ah Pleas­anta Sin­is­ter Sur­geon.
  • Miss April Sharpea Self-taught Inven­tor.
  • Jack Pren­tiss – a Dodgy Pedes­tri­an.
  • Mr Eras­mus Rooke – the Boss.
  • Hen­der­son – a Ded­i­cat­ed Cryp­tol­o­gist.
  • The Chief Verg­er of St Paul’s Cathe­dral.
  • Sev­er­al Mem­bers of Staff at the Capi­to­line Club.
  • Lewis – an Unsuc­cess­ful Bur­glar.

Plot

Fol­low­ing their rebuff by the Pres­i­dent of the Capi­to­line Club, Cap­tain Cur­ruthers and Pren­tiss deter­mined to enter the premis­es by oth­er means, opt­ing for the hith­er­to-unheard-of dis­guise of work­men mak­ing a deliv­ery. Acquir­ing some work clothes from a near­by shop, along with a long crate, they returned to the rear entrance to the Club. Knock­ing on the door, they informed the stew­ard who opened it that they had a deliv­ery for the Very Rev­erend Green­field. When the con­fused young man dis­ap­peared off to con­firm this, they sidled in and, using the crate as a cov­er, head­ed towards the front of the build­ing. Find­ing their way up to the first floor (lounges and games rooms) and then the sec­ond (bed­rooms), they were caught try­ing door han­dles by one of the stew­ards. Their attempt to explain that they were try­ing to make a per­son­al deliv­ery was just­ly ignored as they were ordered back down­stairs. Pren­tiss lost inter­est and knocked him out. They dumped the unfor­tu­nate man in one of the bed­rooms they’d dis­cov­ered, tak­ing his keys, but fur­ther explo­rations proved point­less as they were unable to dis­cov­er any­thing new.

Cur­ruthers and Pren­tiss returned to the Min­istry just as Miss Sharpe and Dr Pleas­ant returned from their own excur­sion. Meet­ing with Lady Anto­nia, they found she had con­tin­ued her research and had turned up some inter­est­ing infor­ma­tion con­cern­ing Wren’s inter­est in sacred geom­e­try, although it seemed he was less inter­est­ed in using it for pow­er, more as an archi­tec­tur­al aid. They dis­cussed the day’s dis­cov­er­ies and learnt of the col­lapse of anoth­er Wren church, before being inter­rupt­ed by the some­what man­ic appear­ance of Hen­der­son, wav­ing some paper about. It tran­spired that he had decod­ed some of Greenfield’s note­book, hav­ing solved a kind of enci­phered short­hand. He had bro­ken his usu­al habit of wait­ing until he had fin­ished the whole job before report­ing the results, real­is­ing that this was quite urgent. Look­ing at the most recent entries first, he had dis­cov­ered that Green­field had been sus­pi­cious of the activ­i­ties of one Dr Jacob Soren­son, the Head Choir­mas­ter, who had been appoint­ed about six months ear­li­er. While Dr Soren­son had acquit­ted his duties as Choir­mas­ter admirably, he had also tak­en a very intense inter­est in the struc­ture and his­to­ry of the build­ing. He was for­ev­er being encoun­tered in obscure cor­ners of the gal­leries, tak­ing rub­bings or draw­ing sketch­es; once or twice, he was found knock­ing on wood­en pan­els and lis­ten­ing to the echoes. He did noth­ing that was actu­al­ly inap­pro­pri­ate, at least by the [INDECIPHERABLE]‘s stan­dards, and Green­field had been advised to wait and watch by his col­league ‘ER’, but then his name turned up autho­ris­ing a dock­et for work on the walls: Green­field had been a bit bemused by this, as that should have been the Verg­er’s respon­si­bil­i­ty. The last entry in the diary men­tioned his plan to inves­ti­gate the site of the works after the masons had gone home to see if there was any­thing odd about them.

The team now realised that Green­field had mere­ly dis­cov­ered the plot, not insti­gat­ed it.

With time tick­ing on to their appoint­ment with the employ­er of Lewis, they col­lect­ed the luck­less crim­i­nal from his cell and head­ed for the indi­cat­ed tav­ern. Upon enter­ing, they seat­ed them­selves around the lounge so as to have all fields of view cov­ered. Cur­ruthers then became aware that a famil­iar fig­ure was try­ing to catch his atten­tion from an inner door­way: it was Eras­mus Rooke. Bring­ing them all into the pri­vate room, he paid off Lewis and sent him home. Sit­ting down, he explained that he had been the one that hired the bur­glar. Rooke and Green­field, it appeared, were both mem­bers of a group ded­i­cat­ed to keep­ing the world safe from super­nat­ur­al dan­gers, although Rooke refused to give any more infor­ma­tion on this. Real­is­ing that Cur­ruthers’ inves­ti­ga­tion would lead him to search the Dean’s home, and believ­ing that the regalia asso­ci­at­ed with the organ­i­sa­tion would cause an unnec­es­sary and point­less diver­sion, he had arranged to remove them. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, Lewis had been caught before he could fin­ish the job, insti­gat­ing the very sit­u­a­tion his employ­er had been try­ing to avoid. With the most recent reports from the team indi­cat­ing the scale of the sit­u­a­tion, Rooke had decid­ed to reveal what he knew. Between his infor­ma­tion and what the team had dis­cov­ered, they fig­ured out the sto­ry.

It appeared that Soren­son had realised that an archangel was bound to the cathe­dral, in order to pre­vent its elab­o­rate struc­ture from col­laps­ing. That archangel was also lend­ing its strength to the rest of Wren’s Lon­don church­es. Over two cen­turies of cap­tiv­i­ty, how­ev­er, the archangel had become some­what insane and was try­ing to escape. Soren­son want­ed to release it and bind it to his own ser­vice, which would both col­lapse the church­es and give him great pow­er – assum­ing the archangel didn’t break free and lay waste to Lon­don first.

The team decid­ed it was time to track down Soren­son. Head­ing imme­di­ate­ly for the Cathe­dral, they con­tact­ed the Chief Verg­er, dis­cov­er­ing that Soren­son had van­ished the day the Dean died. Obtain­ing his home address, they gained entry to the premis­es, find­ing that they had been desert­ed. Cur­ruthers did dis­cov­er a map, with a crude pen­ta­gram drawn out on it, cen­tred on Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

Sus­pect­ing trou­ble, they gath­ered weapons and head­ed for Hol­born becom­ing aware of choral singing as they arrived. Ven­tur­ing into the park, they saw torch­light at the band­stand, which was sur­round­ed by choir­boys, while two hood­ed fig­ures were chant­i­ng in the band­stand itself.

Find­ing their lines of fire obstruct­ed by appar­ent­ly inno­cent choir­boys, the team closed for hand-to-hand com­bat. Pleas­ant did his best to put the choir­boys, who appeared to be pos­sessed, out of the fight blood­less­ly, while Pren­tiss found him­self engaged in a fist­fight with the larg­er of the two hood­ed fig­ures. Cur­ruthers brought down the chant­i­ng Soren­son with a dou­ble shot­gun blast, in spite of his mag­i­cal pro­tec­tion, but it was too late, as a misty fig­ure began to form over the carved stone block at the cen­tre of the rit­u­al. Miss Sharpe’s org­ona­tor now became use­ful as it wore down the spirit’s still coa­lesc­ing phys­i­cal form, allow­ing Cur­ruthers to dis­perse it with a final blast from his firearm.

With the choir­boys appar­ent­ly safe and both vil­lains under con­trol, the team returned to head­quar­ters with the stone, appar­ent­ly the focus for the spirit’s bind­ings. The heroes passed on respon­si­bil­i­ty for the stone to Rooke who ulti­mate­ly returned it to the church, in order to shore up the cathe­dral until it could be strength­ened phys­i­cal­ly.

Notes

This episode start­ed out fair­ly rushed, as I had promised to fin­ish the whole thing this week. This meant that a num­ber of inves­ti­ga­tions had to be com­plet­ed in quick suc­ces­sion and I was wor­ried it would­n’t be pos­si­ble. Luck­i­ly, despite the vast amounts of expo­si­tion, the play­ers put the details togeth­er very quick­ly. The final fight was nice and quick.

Next time, my inves­tiga­tive plots will be bet­ter planned: I’d got so far with this one, then dropped the ball, hav­ing to play catch-up. Giv­en that the orig­i­nal idea was to not rail­road the play­ers, it came dan­ger­ous­ly close towards the end.