August 12, 2018 – August 22nd, 2018
The team decided that investigating the Tuefel Cartel was heir next course of action. After all, Sir Wilfred Corbin informed them that according to his research, the famed Le Dragon Noir was in their possession and this would be a powerful weapon with which to challenge the forces of Dracula. However, they had a problem. They clearly needed some assistance in dealing with the powerful criminal organization. Wolfgang Fechtner suggested that N Branch may be able to provide some aid but the complications that set in were that N Branch had already given Fechtner an assignment – investigate Henri Valant and the connections to human trafficking. And since Valant was connected to Elizabeth Bathory, a woman they were now (partially) trusting, this would require some finesse on their part.
With that in mind, the team decided to return to London to speak with Hansi ‘The Hun’ Wollf, Fechtner’s N Branch contact. Of course, according to Corbin, N Branch had been subverted by the Tuefel Cartel, so the negotiation would have to be delicate, indeed.
Upon arriving in London, they made arrangements to meet up with The Hun and report what they had found and see if she had information. Meanwhile, Illari Vassyl decided to meet with his sister, Nina Vassyl, to see if she was safe. The meeting went well, with the possible exception of her current boyfriend, Graham Martin, an investment banker with connections with Heal the Children. Martin seemed a safe, but clueless choice, for his sister.
The following day the team met up with The Hun and informed them that they were close to finding Le Dragon Noir, the reputed mystic tome. But upon hearing that it was in the hands of the Tuefel Cartel, she became somewhat guarded, informing them that there was something of a blackout surrounding the organization. They would receive minimal help from the German government or N Branch on this specific assignment. As to their involvement with Bathory’s organization, she seemed pleased that they had gotten so far involved with the group and was very pleased with the valuable intel they had provided. However, at the end of the meeting, despite the fact that officially they could not help the team against Tuefel, she provided them with a lead in Frankfort. This lead ended up being a credit line with the Bank of Frankfort that they could use to fund an operation ‘off books.’
Making their way to Passau, they spent time taking in the scenery, getting to understand the layout of the land, and most importantly, conducting a watch on Szell and his organization. It seemed that Arnold Szell kept to a routine, conducted most of his business at his offices/warehouses near the river docks and spent time at his country estate. Briefly spending time with a young lady on Saturday, he was constantly surrounded by bodyguards. There were certainly coded conversations with underlings but he acted like a man who was untouchable. After all, if he had the German authorities on the take and had eliminated most of his enemies, he had little to fear. But the concern the team had was to figure out who is superior was. It seemed as if he had little contact with anyone else. They would need to do something that would cause him to make contact with superiors.
The scheme they came up with was to break into Interpol and German intelligence reports of Tuefel’s operation and set up a bust on behalf of Interpol (who was not in Tuefel’s pocket). They contacted Pascal Lerue and had him pull the strings needed and be on the scene. The plan was for the team to then monitor what Szell did next, knowing it would prompt him into action.
They executed the raid and Fechtner ensured the story immediately got to their contact, Laurel Dene with The Guardian. They would put pressure on the conspiracy. With Kat DeWein and Vincente Rojas waiting near Szell’s compound, they would monitor his actions.
As expected, word got to Szell quickly from his agents. And within an hour, Szell and his bodyguards were on the move. Curiously, he seemed as if he was going to speak to a superior rather than make a phone call. This caused some concerns, as anyone whom he would have to speak to was either unable or disinterested in using a telephone. But with the trip along a single road, it would be difficult for DeWein and Rojas to follow without being seen. When Fechtner tried to monitor with satellites, there seemed to be a blackout over the area, further leading to suspicions that something was amiss. But it confirmed they were on the right trail. When Dewein and Rojas tailed Szell and his team to a castle on the outskirts of Passau, they KNEW they were on the right trail . . .
The team waited, wondering what would come of the meeting and how long it would last. After a couple of hours Szell and his henchmen left and returned the way they came. Apparently, whatever business they had was concluded after meeting with, what was likely, the master. But with whom or what did they speak?