Ashes of Empire by William Kuechenberg | Script Revolution

Ashes of Empire

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68pp

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A coup has thrown the empire of Gryswick into disarray. In a world torn between the modern and the mythic, factions vie for power with violence, subterfuge, and blood magic. A sociological story.
Synopsis/Details: 

The Empire of Gryswick. A world both alien and familiar. A world where sword and sorcery once ruled but are now secondary to the steam engine. 



The city of Gryswick, capital of the Empire, is divided by the river Aarn. On one side, Gryswick Proper: home of wealthy nobles and aristocrats, good citizens of the Empire who sleep soundly at night. On the other side, the Shambles: where poor laborers toil in docks and factories and the streets are prowled by gangs and worse.

Our story begins when Prince Umar, heir apparent to the throne, is murdered by a mysterious magic-wielding criminal known as the Shadowjack. A contingent of nobles and high-ranking clergy led by Lord Edvard Yarmouth demand that Queen Lymantha Ir-El Grys step down form the throne for her safety and that a Crusade be declared against the Shambles, where blood magic is believed to be practiced openly. Queen Lymantha rebukes them and rejects their request.

Many miles to the south, Knight-Marshal Finnegan Owain, a Crusader in service to the Church, finally succeeds in ending an insurrection of separatist nonbelievers in a southern territory of Gryswick. After killing the leader of the rebellion is recalled to Gryswick.

 Nieronymous “Nonny” Yarmouth, a faithful and nebbish young man who studies magical phenomena under the auspices of the Church, is visited by his brother Lord Edvard. Unbeknownst to Nonny, Edvard slips an unholy document into his one of his books. The trap is set. That night Nonny’s Benediction — a soporific the Church demands the faithful drink every night to avoid dreaming, as dreams are the realm of the trickster-god Aphis — is replaced with a similar liquid which does not stop his dreams. As he sleeps he sees Aphis in a vision, and in the morning he is arrested for trafficking with evil forces. The note Edvard slipped in his book is used as proof. Nonny is taken for sentencing. 

 Molly Bones, a vicious young pickpocket, returns to her home on the King’s Spine Bridge where she lives with her magic-practicing grandmother. Upon seeing a vision in her tea leaves, her grandmother sends Molly to make a deal with Erasmus Grey, gentleman criminal and leader of the Grey Hares Gang. Their rival gang, the Dannsmen (led by the sadistic Dead Man Dann), has been demanding tribute from the paupers living on the King’s Spine Bridge. Molly agrees to meet with Erasmus. 

 Finnegan Owain and his crusaders arrives in Gryswick, where he is promoted to Lord Crusader. Queen Lymantha, realizing the play that Lord Edvard is making, recalls all the city guards to the throne room. While she does Molly meets with Erasmus, who agrees to chase the Dannsmen from the King’s Spine Bridge. Dead Man Dann tortures a guard his gang captures and learns that nearly all of the city guard are in the Imperial Seat guarding the queen. Dann decides to make a move against Gryswick Proper while it’s vulnerable. 

 Lord Edvard approaches Queen Lymantha once more, claiming that his own brother was part of the conspiracy to kill Prince Umar. Using this as proof of a plot of magic users and thus justification for a crusade, he demands an interregnum be declared. Queen Lymantha refuses. Edvard calls in Finnegan Owain and his crusaders, who slaughter most of the city guard. Queen Lymantha is forcibly relieved of her throne and put under house arrest, ostensibly for her own protection. 

 Nonny is put on trial and sentenced to death. At the last minute Edvard has his sentence commuted, and Nonny is instead exiled to the wilds beyond the city.

While Dead Man Dann’s men are trying to tear down the gate on the King’s Spine Bridge, Erasmus and the Grey Hares come to stop them. Molly returns with them. As the Grey Hares charge the Dannsmen, Dann springs his trap: a bomb triggered remotely by bloodmagic. The King’s Spine Bridge is destroyed, along with Molly’s house. Her grandmother is killed, as are almost all of Erasmus’ men.

As Edvard and his comrades assumes control and the Crusade begins, Gryswick is a city more divided than ever. 
 



Submitted: June 29, 2019
Last Updated: June 29, 2019

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William Kuechenberg's picture

The Writer: William Kuechenberg

Born into the wild wilderness of Northwest Indiana, I was above-average in all things academic and below-average in all things important. Having had my head filled with all manner of delusions of guaranteed success, I resolved to one day make my living creating the only things that made sense to me: film and television. This was, in retrospect, a rather foolish idea, and I should have instead tried for something more practical and easier to break into, like becoming the president or the first person to pitch a perfect game on Mars. I went to Indiana University of Bloomington, the finest collegiate institution that was willing to give me a discount. I got two degrees: one in Film Analysis,... Go to bio

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