by Molly Ostertag Winter Game 2007
It was midnight in the Hospital of the Chalice. Clean white curtains sectioned off each patients’ bed, some of them lit from within depending on the restlessness of the inhabitant. An owl hooted softly outside the window and took off on white wings, coasting over the forest and the pebbly beach.
Dr. Lania Moldowsky, reclusive and talented head of the Hospital, walked slowly past the curtained beds. She held a list of the Hospital’s current patients in her hand and read it as she walked, aided by a small witchlight that bobbed along at shoulder height.
Anya Cygnus, 19. Traumatized by the death of her dark twin, her notes read. Did she kill him? That would make everything more complicated. Doctor: Nicholas Cloud.
Anya Cygnus tossed and turned in her bed, caught in the grips of a nightmare. As the doctor passed, her movements ceased and she sunk into deeper, untroubled sleep.
Pye Quickfingers, 18. Victim of an amulet apparently imbued with a curse of invisibility. The girl came by it illegally, one must presume. Doctor: Reverend Errol Worthy.
Pye Quickfingers’ bed appeared empty, but that was no great surprise.
Jenna Redtree, 11, and Aram Cooper, 12. Students at the Twinbrook Institute - read from a Book that filled them with the power of a god...which god? There was a third child who died. Doctor: Talia Giedwin.
Jenna Redtree and Aram Cooper slept in twin beds next to each other. Placed between them was an old, decaying tome bound in broken chains. The children and the book seemed to all be breathing with the same rhythm, the book’s moldy pages fluttering almost imperceptibly. Dr. Moldowsky gave them a troubled look, and crossed to the door of her office.
“The children have something to do with it, don’t they?” she said into the room. It was ornamented with a simple desk, a remarkably complex filing system, and a three foot tall chalice bubbling over with watery light. In the presence of the chalice, everything else seemed slightly unreal - easy to look over, then, the comatose body lying in a bed next to it. Copper wire connected the body to the Chalice, but with no apparent effect.
“The children, and their Book,” said the body, moving only its lips. “I warned you a fortnight ago, Lania, and I’ll warn you again. Something is coming.”
Events were indeed waiting to unfold, at the Hospital of the Chalice. Known far and wide across Ayewards as a hospital for those with magical ailments, it was a place where strange occurrences were common, and the staff used to dealing with them. Whatever storm was coming...they would weather it.
The Children and Their BookEdit
The Twinbrook Institute was a school for magic. The children there were young - most teenagers interested in studying magic went to more specialized schools, while the Institute's academics covered many different areas. Built on a marsh over a wild and powerful node, the Institute's experienced teachers and extensive library were known across Ayewards.
Jenna Redtree held lengthy conversations with trees; Aram Cooper used a sword like an extension of his own arm and his prayers always received answers from some god or another; Isaac Sterling could age things at a touch, and scarcely understood his own power. The three of them were best friends.
Things always happen around nodes, and the one at Twinbrook was no exception. Life at the school was always exciting, but as the fall semester began and the teachers started construction of a new building, it became positively deadly. The new building was placed, inadvertently, over land staked out by a feral tribe of shapeshifters. One evening in November, they invaded the school in the form of birds or smoke and attacked.
These were powerful shapeshifters, and the teachers were caught unawares. Jenna, Aram, and Isaac saw their classmates dying in the attack, and they fled to the library. There was something immensely dangerous there that they knew could help them - a huge book, bound in chains, that when read would give them the power of a god.
The rest of the story is well-known to all Hospital staff and all Twinbrook teachers. The children read from the book and stopped the shapeshifters, but such power can never be used without a cost. Jenna and Aram lie in the Hospital, plagued with nightmares, their minds terribly twisted by the power that occupied them briefly - but long enough to do damage. All that is left of Isaac is a streak of burnt wood along the wall where he was standing. The book sits in the Hospital as well, for investigation, and as a reminder to leave the powers of gods alone.
Gull and EskEdit
The night was cold as a miser's heart, and the fire was dying down. Esk darted a look at her big brother, who was staring deep into the embers. "Need more wood." Ruefulness tinged her voice - she knew that he would be the one to go out into the night, to tramp through the foot of snow to the wood pile. At fourteen, Esk was slight of frame and inclined towards unhealthiness. "I know." Gull stood up and stretched, his joints popping. He touched the top of her head briefly, a gentle gesture, as he went to get his coat. "Be back in a minute." The night swallowed him up as soon as he shut their cabin door behind them. A moon shone full and cruel, sparkling on the top layer of the snow. The wind wasn't blowing and all around him, Gull could hear the sound of the wood, creaking and groaning in the dead cold. The snow mounded around his boots as he plowed through it and reached the woodshed. Wood was stacked up to the ceiling in there, enough to last through the winter. It reassured him as he fetched several logs and an axe to chop them into smaller pieces. The wolf must have been huddled in the darker recesses of the shed, because he didn't see it until it was on top of him. It struck him with fangs as brutal as winter, snarling with a terrifying insanity. Gull yelled as his coat ripped and warm, wet blood welled in a wound on his side; he swung the axe blindly and felt it connect. The wolf's snarl escalated into a pain-filled shriek and it grappled at him with paws that seemed more like clawed hands than anything else, tearing at his face. Gull swung the axe again, more feeble, and the handle struck the wolf's snout. It rolled off him and, whining, slunk into the black, black night. Gull fell backwards in the snow, his blood staining it in the moonlight, and night swelled in his eyes until it covered everything, even the scarred disc of the moon.
He next woke somewhere very different. When he opened his eyes, bright white light forced them shut and left after-images on his eyelids. He was lying on a bed, and there was a dull throbbing in his side. Something was wrong - something felt different inside of him. There were people standing near him, over him, talking. He focused on them with an effort as the events of the winter night came back to him, like puzzle-pieces. Out of the babble of voices, he heard one word clearly: "...lycanthropy."
- Dr. Lania Moldowsky - Marika McCoola
- Dr. Nicholas Cloud - Brennan Lee Mulligan
- Dr. Talia Giedwin - Mary Gordanier
- Reverend Errol Worthy - Dylan Scott
- Tier Witchsight- Thomas Gordanier
- - Claire Trindle
- Dr. Even - Flynn Jones
- - Khy Manuso
- Anya Cygnus - Claire Louge
- Pye Quickfingers -
- Jenna Redtree - Ruby Lavin
- Aram Cooper - Adam Samson
- Jerry of Heartford - Starr Nader
- Max Seraii - Wiley Gorn
- Gull Sakavoya - Dorian Jackson
- - Jacob Vestergaard
Professors (Totally The A-Team)Edit
- Professor Atrius - Colin O'Brien
- Professor Serafina - Molly Ostertag
- Professor Sybil - Whitney Stewart
- Roger - Jonathan Hunt
- North, Angel of Earth - Eli Sorich
- South, Angel of Fire - Lizzy Neiman
- East, Angel of Air - David Gottsegen
- West, Angel of Water - Hannah Rothman
- Folley, the Plague of Madness - Nick Goodhue
- Viper, the Plague of Poison - Brynna Golden
- , the Plague of Blindness - Valentine Monfeuga
- Aspin, the Plague of Shaking/Trembling/Seizures - Zachary Weber
- Sister Script - Isabelle Louge
- Sister Fern - Taylor Fisher
- Sister Shadow - Sophie Danish-Brown
- Sister Ember - Stacy Howland
- Brother Sand - Nick Feder
Naywards Soldiers (NGET: Naywards Glitterpuff Extermination Team)Edit
- Arthur Tenbones - Ben Raften
- Nathan Tenbones - Sam Rodriques
- General Jarred --- -
- Martin Reaper - Maayan Bar-Yam