Night's Black Agents: Dracula Dossier

Episode 42: The Proserpine Gambit

June 21st, 2018 – June 30th, 2018

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The first order of business after dealing with the seance was to finally ride themselves of the cursed Bathory Journals that had been haunting Cal Morrison for weeks. He felt the pull of their evil getting stronger and stronger and suspected that he could accept the offer of Henri Valant’s man, Claude Malinbois. It sickened him to have to surrender them but these evil texts were becoming more trouble than they were worth and Valant’s men were increasingly dogged about having them returned. The group oversaw the hand off and in return Malinbois delivered a small fortune in blood diamonds.

From there, the team contacted their associate, Oskar Beaufort, the mysterious scientist who had been conducting research into vampirism on their behalf. Beaufort gave them the location to his current safehouse in Milan, Italy. It was a quick route outside of London then on to the continent.

Upon meeting up with Dr. Beaufort they were interested in the developments he had made with the various blood samples they had provided the past couple of months. He admitted that his research was in the initial stages. However, he had determined that the blood of more powerful Vampires had a stronger impact on certain kinds of animals, such as dogs, wolves, bats, etc. Also, he discovered, the hard way, that dust from vampires could be brought back to existence when amounts of blood were added. It was very difficult to fully destroy a vampire, apparently. Beaufort also mused on different subjects, including some of the human collaborators, in the same line as Renfield. He would love to have gotten his hands on one of these Renfields.

The good news was that Beaufort had developed a serum, the Beaufort Serum Mark I, which would act as an antidote if someone had been bit, without the side effects of the Blomberg Serum. However, the more powerful the vampire, the less likely it was to be effective. Further, it was very expensive, presently, to produce.

After spending some time with Dr. Beaufort and bringing him up to speed on their cases, they left for Spain, for the Dominican Monastery, where they wanted to put Wolfgang Fechtner through a cleansing ritual. Since one of the brides of Dracula, a lieutenant named Madame St Armand had developed a psychic link with him, they needed a special religious ceremony to break that bond. They spent a few days at the monastery and tried to convince the monks to surrender some of their older relics, which was flatly declines. So instead Cal contacted Bishop Jean-Baptiste Champavier, the head of the Society of St Lazarus of Bethany who agreed to find some relics they could use, for a price.

In determining their next steps, the team decided to head to Exeter where they had a suspicion that they was some connection with the HMS Proserpine. They felt the Proserpine was a key location with important data they needed. Whereas the ship may dock in Exeter, they also knew it might not. Either way, Exeter was likely the best place they could start.

It took a few days of boots on the ground in Exeter to determine the most likely location for their target. The Exeter Fishery was a large location, on the waterfront and would provide excellent cover, much like the power and water plant in Carfax in London. However, according to the Dracula Dossier, this location was likely a training facility for agents and would be difficult to breach. They would need an alternate plan than previous ones.

Cal began to track and monitor the traffic coming in and out of the fishery, suspecting that the Proserpine would not dock there but some of the smaller ships might be acting as a relay point between the Proserpine, wherever that was, and the fishery. It would take him nearly a week to do, he suspected, so in the meantime, Illari Vassyl, Vincente Rojas and Fechtner would do the leg work, watching the facility. They managed to catch a surveillance team, following them. Curiously, they were observing a local resident, a law professor, named Reginald Hillary. When the background of Mr. Hillary was researched, it was uncovered that he was a lecturer at the school of law at Exeter, and was an expert on government overreach and had been requesting countless documents on the post World War II era. Perhaps Edom was concerned about the professor’s research. Either way, they were keeping a constant watch on him.

While Cal worked on tracking the ship movements in and out of the fishery, the rest of the team decided they wanted to infiltrate Prof. Hillary’s home. They found he was an invalid, living in a large stately home with a live-in nurse and personal assistant while he conducted his research. They knew the professor, with his limited mobility would likely not be an issue, but they wanted to avoid catching the attention of the Edom surveillance team. Nevertheless, Fechtner and Rojas entered the house through the basement and found nothing amiss in the house. When they went to his office, they found endless government documents, books, texts and so on. Fechtner also found a file on his old associate Mathias Emmerlich tucked away with the Caliban Letter which he promptly took. It also made reference to an associate in London who ran a travel agency who may have been a CIA operative. After cloning the professor’s hard drive, the team left, ready to pour over the details once they returned to the hotel where Cal was mining data.

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Episode 41: The Dead Talk Fast

June 14th, 2018 – June 17th, 2018

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At a remote bed & breakfast outside of London, the agents met up with Laurel Dene to discuss the next phase of their plan involving the would-be defector from Edom. Dene stated his name was ‘Corsley’ and he had a significant amount of information to provide to the agents. It was designed they would meet up with Corsley at a Catholic church in a small Irish neighborhood 30 minutes north of London. This would be enough out of the way to provide needed privacy to talk with the mysterious Corsley. Wolfgang Fechtner made the arrangements and it was decided that he and Cal Morrison would do most of the discussions with Corsley with Pascal Lerue and Illari Vassyl inside, hiding and Vicente Rojas outside watching the streets.

When Corsley arrived, he was apprehensive, at first, providing very few details about himself. However, he revealed that he was one of Hound’s agents and his responsibilities were executing on a variety of her schemes and operations, stating that he was not thrilled with the way things were headed. He felt as if the line had been crossed numerous times and they were using a monster to fight other monsters, referencing, of course, Dracula. He had hoped that Ms. Dene and her connections with the media would be enough to frustrate the purposes of Edom and begin to set things right. When asked what Hound’s weakness was, he revealed that her arrogance was a downfall for her. He also made reference to a contact of his, someone who was somewhat Edom friendly, but could be a useful asset for the agents. Agost Vambery, a billionaire financier, was someone Corsely had leveraged in the past and someone who may be able to help in the future after he, Corsley, had left town.

Just as Corsley was starting to reveal his terms for further assistance, the church doors burst open and there were attackers, quickly recognized as the Ruvari Szgany, a branch of the Romanian Mafya. They were able to approach under the heavy London fog and were clearly here to execute Corsley. When the massive firefight took place, Corsley was mortally wounded and the rest of the team was banged up significantly. However, with his dying breaths, Corsley begged them to not let his body fall into Edom’s hands, prompting Cal and Wolfgang to recall that Edom had powers of necromancy that allowed them to interrogate the dead. Instead, they had their own plan, where perhaps, they, with some help, could ask questions of the soon to be deceased Corsely. Before leaving they were able to erase some of the CCTV footage that both showed them as well as Corsley’s arrival. This would buy them some time by making their enemies think that Corsley was still alive.

Returning to the safehouse provided by William Hester, the team cleared out as much of the material as they could to prepare for the seance. They did their best to calm Ms. Dene who was understandably upset after being shot at by Romanian mobsters. But Cal devised a plan that would not only hamper the future activities of these mobsters, no doubt agents of Dracula or Edom or both, but would also provide further distractions for the media and law enforcement. He began to engineer the mistrust and anger between the Ruvari Szgany and the IRA.

At the same time, the agents knew they had to make use of a contact, Madame Karolina, an associate of Cal’s who reportedly had psychic powers and whom they had used before. However, the team was increasingly mistrustful and paranoid, making them wonder whether they could trust her or not. But in the end, they knew she was the only person to whom they could turn. They knew with the help of the Spirit Board they had gained from Hela Cuthburt Singleton, they may be able to use it to contact Corsley’s spirit.

Madame Karolina was shown the body of Corsley and reluctantly agreed to help, but upon finding out who he was and what line of work he had been in, warned that there would be dangers as they would be likely dealing demonic entities. The agents had to agree that when she stated the interrogation with the deceased was over they would agree with her.

When Karolina spoke to Corsley’s ghost, it was a terrifying experience as his body bolted upright and the sounds of his voice were marred with a nightmarish sound. They pressed him with questions and he responded with short, curt and ominous answers. He Revealed a number of important details to them under pressure from Karolina’s powers:

  • Heartbreaker was actually Lucy Westenra from the novel Dracula
  • Hound and Elvis are involved in some kind of cold war with one another
  • Showed that Edom was well aware of Dr. Oskar Beaufort and his ‘Frankenstein research’

Eventually, Karolina stated she had to release the bonds of her control over Corsley and the team decided to more to his apartment and ransack it before Edom could do so. In the course of the search, they discovered that Corsley had gathered anough details on Hound to determine a weakness or fear. They found he ascertained she had an ironic fear of being turned into a vampire . . .

It was at this point that the agents decided they would try and pull an elaborate bluff with Hound, suggesting that Beaufort had some kind of anti-vampirism serum, in hopes of using this as leverage with her in the future. But for the immediate future, they decided to meet up with Beaufort to discover what research he had uncovered and inform him he was in far greater danger than they had anticipated.

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Episode 40: On Her Majesty's Sanguine Service

June 8th, 2018 – June 12th, 2018

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The heat of the coming summer was increasing, as well as the heat of increased scrutiny on British intelligence services. The increased media excitement over the revelations that MI5 and MI6 were involved in spying on citizens and maintaining secret black site facilities, allowed for a narrow window of opportunity to breach Carfax Abbey, posing as a water treatment facility. The Edom facility would have a smaller staff and would easier to breach. However, the agents needed something extra to get into the facility.

The agents made contact with Savas Osman who had recently return to London. Savas had a contact in MI5, Ian Hyde-Cooke, who, due to a past relationship, was well-placed in the intelligence community. Savas pressed Hyde-Cooke, who agreed to hand over names and descriptions of agents who would likely be transferred to Carfax Abbey, allowing the agents to take their places. This would provide a brief opportunity for them to get in and investigate before the facility was closed down, permanently.

The agents found proper uniforms and a vehicle and Wolfgang Fechtner forged the proper documents to get them into the facility, posing as ‘new workers.’ Vicente Rojas was assigned to watch over Laurel Dene, the reporter, to ensure that no accidents befell her. The team hoped to be in and out quickly, but could not predict where things would take them.

The team arrived on the grounds and noticed that there was an increased amount of activity around the area, likely intelligence agencies, suspicious of what was going on at the location. With some of Edom’s secrets on the verge of exposure, the clandestine organization was on high alert. The team noticed a Rolls Royce parked outside the facility, which was highly suspicious. But after gaining entrance, they were assigned to speak to The Abbot, presumably the director of the facility.

The team was eventually taken to The Abbot’s office where they waited, noticing that there were numerous monitors, maps, and ringing phones. Before they could gather any real intelligence on the matter, they noticed the increased security and cameras at the facility. Eventually when The Abbot made his appearance, they noticed he was with a striking individual who appeared well manicured and professional. This Dark Stranger seemed as if he had intense business with The Abbot but when he gazed upon Osman, Fechtner and Cal Morrison, he seemed to stare into their souls and hinted at something demonic and truly evil. The agents could not get past his terrible gaze and it was only later that they suspected there was something far, far worse about him than suspected. It was later that they theorized her was perhaps a vampire, perhaps even Dracula, himself. But if so, what was he doing at Carfax Abbey, especially under such high scrutiny.

The Abbot seemed distracted after the Dark Stranger left, believing the ruse the agents had provided, assigning them to an operative in the basement of the facility. Upon arriving and getting their assignment, the agent was in the process of shredding documents, redacting topics from documents and secretly taking photos of some and perhaps sending them to some unknown individual. But the grim task to which he assigned them was cleaning up interrogation rooms where the bodies had been ripped apart and had their blood drained. It seemed as if there was a vampire that had been present that feasted on the victims. It was then that the agents realized they were in very, very deep, but had an opportunity to uncover secrets from the facility.

Savas consulted with his holy symbol and discovered a pair of locations in the basement with great evil. He determined that the main feature they wanted, a Red Room must have been one of them. It was then that Wolfgang enacted a plan to lift the other agents phone, as he was desperate to get whatever was on his phone and the photos he had been taking and sending to some individual.

They were reassigned to a new location and made their way there. The new agent was watching over a bank of monitors and medical equipment and it was determined that the agent was remotely watching and monitoring sleeper agents in London, individuals who were not aware of their involvement. Cal Morrison theorized this program was one where Edom could activate normal citizens into performing unspeakable acts of violence if the situation was needed, perhaps to distract media in giving them a better story. However, the agent assigned them to feeding duty in the next room, an area Savas identified as one of the central areas of evil.

As the agents made their way to the next room and descended into the hatch, they quickly encountered a powerful and evil vampire, Patient X, whose primary role was unclear but was likely a source of mystical blood for Edom. It was the agents’ duty to somehow feed this creature with a special blood bag they were given. They, of course, had to avoid the numerous other slave vampires that were also in the sub basement.

The task was tense and horrific. However, Cal managed to keep his wits about him long enough to take samples from not only the blood pack that was to be administered to Patient X but also took a blood sample from Patient X, himself, knowing that the mysterious Dr. Oskar Beaufort. This would likely greatly advance his research into vampirism and other life-extending measures. But once the task was done, they moved on, continuing the ruse that they belonged.

As the team went through the facility, there were rooms and other areas they avoided even though they suspected there were secrets that could be given up. But they needed to move on and not bring undo attention to themselves. They passed a dog kennel, numerous locked doors and even a chapel. It was the chapel that gave Savas an idea – taking the hosts from the tabernacle in the hopes they would be of some use when they found the eventual Red Room.

They came to an area with several doors but knew their time was running out. The room they determined would likely be the Red Room was near. But as soon as Wolfgang opened it and they saw an unholy alter and the walls dripping with blood, some powerful and sinister force overcame Cal and he attacked Savas, a bloodlust welling up deep inside of him. It took everything Wolfgang and Savas had to fight Cal off and subdue him but the mayhem was too much. Security forces were alerted. Savas had just enough time to lay down the holy hosts around the Red Room, sanctifying it and for good measure planted explosives in the room. It was then that the group made their way out, and took a chance with another mysterious door. As they entered, knowing this could be a dead end and thus, they would be trapped, they hoped for the best. However, they came into a room that they had not expected. A massive sarcophagus with two smaller ones on each side were present as well as mountains of dirt in and out of the coffins. Was this one of the tombs of Dracula? They had no time to ponder the consequences of their actions. hey merely acted quickly and with the best decision they felt they could make. They bathed the room in holy water and found a doorway out. The doorway led into a passage and into the tenement building across the street. This was clearly the way in which several of the agents were able to come in and out of the facility. They quickly escaped after detonating the explosives Savas had planted in the Red Room.

The news that came out of the day was that the water treatment facility was destroyed, through a terrorist act with Edom and their puppets circulating photos of the agents as the perpetrators. Edom used the agents’ attack as a pretext for their own false flag operation, doing their best to frame their enemies in the process.

When they circled back to the safehouse that William Hester had provided, they discovered that whereas there were some suspicious activity surrounding Laurel Dene, Vicente Rojas managed to protect her. Wolfgang investigated the phone they had lifted and discovered that the Edom operative who had the camera had been communicating with someone named ‘O.’ (Was it ‘Osprey?’ Was it ‘Oakes?’ Was it someone else?) The documents that had been photographed were documents dealing with Henri Valant, the Tuefel Cartel as well as the Van Brunt Protocol. It was evident that the information had been gathered by Elvis’ operatives under the order of Hound, showing more splits within the Dukes of Edom.

They then met up with Dene who dropped a bombshell: she had recently been in touch with a contact, someone who claimed to be with Edom and they wanted to defect and provide the team with information.

Was it an Edom trap? Or was it for real?

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Episode 39: Shining a Light

June 1st, 2018 – June 7th, 2018

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Once Cal Morrison got out of the hospital, the team reassembled, as everyone was in better shape, relatively speaking. Pascal Lerue appeared from the shadows to offer his assistance, especially after hearing of the savage attacks the agents had suffered at the hands of their enemies. Cal made sure to mention the strange professor on television he had seen, Memet Lucsai, the so-called ‘Dracuologist,’ as a possible lead – or trap. But the team thought they had a different important lead that was far more pressing – Carfax Abbey.

Upon leaving the hospital and connecting with the rest of the team, Pascal Lerue suggested they they needed a safe house. And when Cal mentioned his idea for creating some UV light related gadgets, they knew they needed somewhere they could not only rest, but work in peace. It was then that Pascal decided to activate his friend, William Hester, an employee of the British Museum (and coincidentally, the father of Sarah Hester, an active agent of the CIA). In short order, William set them up with a artifacts repair station that he had access to that was currently not in use. He met them and left with them keys, assuring them that they would have security and privacy.

The team then began to set out researching Carfax Abbey. The team knew that this location likely had secrets to reveal as this was supposedly the headquarters for Dracula in the late 19th century. More importantly, it likely contained a Red Room. If they could breach the area, they could find any number of clues, leads and details about Dracula. The following day, they began to monitor the location. The question was whether or not to include Laurel Dene, the journalist. For the time being, they decided to keep her in the dark for her own safety.

The initial examination of the neighborhood where Carfax Abbey once stood seemed to be a poor and heavily ethnic area. However, in a short amount of time, they discovered that there was an unusual amount of activity coming from the two government buildings across the street – the water treatment facility as well as an electric substation. It was suspected that the activity was more than simply civil service work. As the team began to follow and place the individuals under surveillance, their suspicions were confirmed and the individuals were likely in league with MI6 and Edom. Over the next few days the agents learned the following:

  • The Edom-backed agents were observing individuals, such as Hela Cuthbert Singleton, individuals in the government and individuals in the business world.
  • They were involved in pick ups and deliveries of human subjects, likely terror suspects, dealing with a military base
  • They were involved in pick ups and deliveries of cash and gold, with the same military base
  • Scheduled collections of unusual items, such as packages from Ginger Smythe, perhaps the same items that she and Tabitha Holmwood had been smuggling from the European continent

The team knew that whatever was inside ‘Carfax Abbey’ was likely more important than they had first suspected. They had to get inside and uncover those secrets. But they also knew they were dealing with professional intelligence men, assassins and killers. The heightened security involved would prevent them from an easy assignment, so they decided they would have to try a different approach. Wolfgang Fecthner suggested getting the journalist involved. At that point, the team concocted a scheme.

They decided to hand over much of the evidence they had collected, regarding the illegal surveillance on PM Ernie Pitt, one of the Parliament members Edom had been spying on. They knew that Pitt would take their bait and make headlines, hurling accusations at MI5 and MI6. This would provide the distraction the team needed to infiltrate the Carfax Abbey headquarters while the location had less personnel. They would have a small window of opportunity as enough light would have been shed on the facility as well as the practices of Edom’s puppet organizations. So they met with PM Pitt who reacted the exact way they expected and ran the first story the next day in The Guardian.

Later, however, as Cal and Vicente Rojas were out picking up food at a local pub, they had an encounter with a man introducing himself as Claude Malinbois, stating he represented the interests of Henri Valant, the true owner of the Bathory Journals. Mr. Malinbois was overly polite and genteel but stated in no uncertain terms that Mr. Valant wanted those journals back and there was a one time offer to provide compensation. When Cal stated he was less interested in money and more interested in an older artifact of some kind, perhaps a crucifix from the 1500’s. Malinbois said he would ask his employer.

The next day the story ran in The Guardian and all Hell broke loose in the media, in Whitehall and all throughout London. But was this the distraction needed to get into Carfax Abbey? The agents were about to find out if their gamble paid off.

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Episode 38: Unsafe House

May 24th, 2018 – May 31st, 2018

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Laurel Dene, the investigative journalist from The Guardian, was intent on showing something related to the Dracula case to Cal Morrison. She began to trust him and felt that he and whomever he was working with, could be a valuable asset. Cal, for his part, felt he was on the verge of an important breakthrough with an important contact. But Ms. Dene could not be scared off. Illari Vasyl followed them on foot and Wolfgang Fechtner followed them by car as she took Cal through the London Underground to some secret location.

Taking a serpentine route through London, Ms. Dene and Cal eventually emerged at the station near Muswell Hill. Illari and Cal spotted and took out a pair of agents that seemed to be following Ms. Dene with her none the wiser.

Ms. Dene took Cal to a storage facility where inside was a mountain of documents and research she had compiled, explaining that she had been in contact with a mysterious figure within the government known as ‘Hopkins.’ She had been investigating the ‘Dracula Case,’ as she put it, ever since a police office, Insp. Samantha Anderson, had been killed mysteriously, back in November. Of course, Cal and the others were well aware as they, too, had been there that night, but Cal kept that close to the vest for the time being. It seemed that Ms. Dene was viewing this as a major investigative assignment for a story, unaware of exactly how much danger she was in.

Curiously, Ms. Dene had more to show and offer. Much to Cal’s surprise, she pulled out her own copy of the Dracula Dossier, explaining that it was given to her by the mysterious Hopkins. Her copy was similar to the team’s as the annotations were written in the same hands but were slightly different as if over the years two copies were made by the analysts. She also showed Cal some other items of great interest that she had uncovered. One document, the Special Asset Action Report, was given to her by a source she did not name but suggested he would be an important individual for Cal to meet if trust was built. This document seemed to be a hit list, likely by Edom, using vampire assets to take out targets. The other document, the Advisory Committee Report, was something she claimed to find in the basement of the Caldwell Foundation, among the papers of the Holmwood family, perhaps once the property of Arthur Holmwood, Lord Godalming.

Further, Ms. Dene claimed she may have had some leads on the location of not only Carfax Abbey but also Seward’s Asylum, both important locations from the novel, Dracula, as well as likely locations of interest in the present day conspiracy they were dealing with. Cal suggested they do something about finding these locations but left it for a future plan they could enact.

Finally, Ms. Dene’s secret storage room was hardly secure but it was secret. Cal estimated there was a mountain of research that could be done but Ms. Dene was hesitant to scan any of it as she thought the government had her under watch. Cal considered some options for her but also knew this location would be a valuable research station for he and the rest of the team. They parted ways but agreed to keep in touch, but would have to do so secretly.

Cal met back up with Illari and Wolfgang and the group made their way to the hotel where they were staying. They began to review some of the information they had found but before they could make any determinations, they were beset upon by British SAS, anti-terrorist forces. Someone had tracked them down! The fight was bloody and brutal as the team fought their way out, killing 5 of 6 of the agents and narrowly escaping the massive dragnet that had been pit out for them, They knew they had to get out of the city and Illari turned to his ally, Marion Moore, knowing they could use her farm house once again, as they did several months ago.

They drove through the night, avoiding CCTV networks and the authorities who were no doubt looking for them. When they reached the farm, which they were hoping to use as a temporary safe house to heal their wounds, they saw Ms. Moore tending to the animals in the early morning. However, when Cal decided to take a picture of her on his phone, all Hell broke loose. She sprung into action, moving at an amazing speed, revealing her turned, vampiric nature. The fact that she was strong, combined with the wounds the agents had taken back in London, made for a lethal fight, with Cal having his neck almost torn out in a flash and Illari followed suit. Whereas they were able to fend her off and eventually destroy her, both Illari and Cal needed not only medical attention, but also needed the Blomburg Serum to fight off vampirism.

Wolfgang took both of his friends inside the farm house in hopes of setting up a small clinic and hospital and creating more serum. However, when he went into the basement, his heart skipped a beat. He discovered the cellar had a whole nest of undead, perhaps awaiting instructions from a more nefarious master. He quickly bolted out, barred the door and set the place on fire after getting Illari and Cal out of the house. This was not a safe location and may have been a well laid trap, instead, by Dracula’s forces.

Weary and hurt, Illari knew of someone 30 km away that might help. He scrolled through his phone to find the address of Oscar Willingham, younger brother of the arms dealer, Ethan Willingham. Oscar, a drug addict in hiding, owed Illari some favors and now was the time for Illari to collect. The group descended on Oscar’s country cottage and paid him to get out for a few hours while Wolfgang began creating more serum. But then he realized that Cal’s wounds were worse than imagined and needed to transfer him to a hospital, claiming he had been the victim of a wild animal attack. But lately the group was no stranger to creating false records and putting people in hospitals under false names.

While Cal was in the hospital, Illari went through many of the vampire documents they had, Edom files and other reports they had taken over the months. He discovered that Edom likely believed in several kinds of of creatures, agents and supernatural forces, focusing their attention on the Linea Dracula, all the vampires that descended from Dracula’s unholy line. There were others, such as the Line of Cain and the Line of Lilith that they theorized existed as well as other foreign programs they had an interest in, specifically, the Van Brunt Protocol, which appeared to be a joint American-German project of some kind.

Finally, as Cal lay in the hospital, some program on television caught his attention. A BBC show, where an interviewer was talking with, what the caption stated was a ‘Dracuologist,’ The professor, Dr. Memet Lucsai, seemed to be an expert on revisionist Dracula lore. His insight and information into Vlad III was astounding. But would this professor be able to provide any insight at all?

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Episode 37: Connecting the Dots

May 20th, 2018 – May 24th, 2018

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Following the events in Switzerland, the agents were on the run and lying low. Making their escape to England as they could hide out from the terrors they had witnessed, as well as engage in more leads, their first order or priority was tending to the serious wounds Illari Vasyl has endured at the hands of the undead horde. They entered him in a small hospital, under an assumed name and made their way to London, keeping a low profile as they knew there were forces that were looking for them. Their very presence was toxic to some individuals and the CCTV eyes of London were constantly watching. Franco Selvaggio said goodbye to Ximena Porte who needed to return to her employer, Omar Shakti in Brussels.

The team continued to lay low for a week, scouring news reports of anything interesting, as well as examining the endless leads and documents they had. In the end, they decided to go with something simple as their next order of business. They chose to investigate the Aytown Galleries to see if there was a connection with either the Van Helsing Cameo they had. That would be a good use of time.

Cal Morrison, Wolfgang Fechtner and Franco Selvaggio decided they would enter the gallery and see the situation, whereas Vicente Rojas would remain outside, acting as a lookout. When they entered, they encountered the owner of the gallery, Vivienne Aytown-Baptiste, the great-granddaughter of Francis Aytown, a background character from the novel, Dracula, and perhaps, a former central figure of the conspiracy. After all, it was Mr. Aytown who created one or more of the cameos.

Ms. Aytown-Baptiste seemed polite and was impressed by the level of knowledge Franco expressed, especially the artwork she had in the gallery, specifically the materials from eastern Europe. Though, both Cal and Wolfgang suspected there was more to her than met the eye. But whether it was a connection to Edom, Dracula, or something else was uncertain.

Outside, as Vicente watched as a lookout, he did notice some suspicious activity nearby. But when he went to investigate, he was intercepted by allies of the stranger who pulled him in an alley and threatened him, stating they were interested in someone else and he was to stay put. Vicente knew he had to handle the situation carefully.

Back in the gallery, Cal managed to convince Vivienne that they were interested in more than browsing and were not agents of the police or anyone else meant to due her harm or interfere with her business. When he showed her the Van Helsing Cameo, she instantly recognized it as the work of her great grandfather, Francis Aytown and offered to let them see something special she had hidden away. At that point she took them to the third floor and entered into a room that was seldom used and clearly out of the way, used for storing junk.

She showed them around the cramped room and one of the first things Wolfgang noticed was a very well done marble bust, intricately detailed, of a male figure. It was similar to the one that was likely used for the passports of some of Dracula’s more potent agents, like Countess Dolinz. The rest of the group instantly took an interest in it. After all, who was this man? Was he still around? Was he a vampire? When asked what it was for, Vivienne admitted that her mother was a master sculptor and simply kept one around after she was done. She even had the marble that was used, stored behind some other boxes.

It was at that point that she pulled from a desk draw a velvet pouch and pulled forth another cameo. This one, she explained, was the Holmwood Cameo. It was part of a set that her great grandfather had made and this one came back into her possession a few years ago (under circumstances she did not get into). However, as soon as more questions were about to be posed, a crashing from the window exploded into the room and there were enemy forces present, having just thrown a flash grenade into the room, stunning most of them. Outside, upon hearing the sound, Vicente acted, instantly getting the drop on his attackers, killing one and quickly maiming the other. He immediately made his way to the building to see what he could do to help his allies.

As the team in the gallery fended off attacks from the assailants, Cal noticed they were targeting him and suggested they wanted the return of the Bathory Journals, indicating they were in the service of Henri Valant, the dealer they had ripped off in Vienna. But how they tracked him down to London was unclear.

They managed to kill the attackers and get out of the area before the police arrived. They left Ms. Aytown-Baptiste behind but took the Holmwood Cameo, figuring it might be of some value later. The team reunited with Vicente and made their way through SoHo and to the Underground before switching, boosting a car and avoiding London Metro police. But one thing was clear: the police were widening their dragnet. Someone was pushing and increasing the pressure on the agents. Due to this, the agents were not sure where they could turn. The tendrils of MI6, Edom and GCHQ were everywhere and they knew they were in the crosshairs of the organizations that were allied with Dracula. Franco turned to his ‘uncle,’ Edward Bentley for help who sent them in the direction of an underground doctor, who also worked for MI6. Dr. Ike Rutherford ran his illegal cash-only clinic out of his vet practice and reported suspicious injuries to his superiors in the government. But for a short time the team could trust him.

It was at this point that the team decided to make use of some other leads they had. Namely that of Laurel Dene, a journalist with The Guardian whose name had come up twice in the past few months. Once with Prof. Donall Scally, in the Vatican and once again in a document where she interviewed an author of a book that had interested them on some related topics. The team decided that she might have some useful information. After all, as an investigative journalist, she was used to poking around, uncovering secrets and getting into places she could not. It was possible she was an ally not yet discovered.

Cal used some pull to get a phone call with her and was able to arrange a meet up, with the suspicious Dene. However, in his brief meeting with her, she was interested in what he had to say and he realized she was bright, capable and onto the same things they were. When she offered to show him what she had, he jumped at the chance, especially when she told him, he wouldn’t believe it . . .

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Episode 36: Hordes of Darkness

May 10th, 2018 – May 19th, 2018

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Still at the exclusive ski resort in Andermatt, the team began working on a few other projects, while they had the team. Wolfgang Fechtner, despite his haunting experiences with Madame St Armand, decided he would begin working on a forgery for the Key to the Valley and Cal Morrison was going to create some weaponized epi-pens. Illari Vasyl, spent time researching some ancient texts and sparring with some of Omar Shakti’s bodyguards. Vicente Rojas spent the time looking around and watching for any possible attacks while Franco Selvaggio continued his intimate relationship with Ximena Porte.

Illari’s research into the Black Pharaoh, as well as whatever connection’s Shakti had, revealed a deepening problem. It seemed that if what he found was correct, then Shakti was hardly an altruistic individual. After all, they knew something was unusual with him, after they had murdered him and he came back to life some months ago. But what Illari discovered was that if he were correct, then Shakti was involved in an ancient cult dedicated to a timeless god known as Nyralathotep. This revelation was as disturbing as it was enigmatic. They were, of course, making bargains with dark powers.

Meanwhile, Fechtner was growing more and more concerned regarding his nightly visits from Madame St Armand. In the occult books he had brought out, he spent the entire day trying to uncover what she was, what her connection was with Dracula and so on. He was working with the basic assumption that she was a bride and found some passages dealing with a Church investigator from the Middle Ages. Fechtner found that this woman, likely a vampire or succubus in the service of Dracula, was using some kind of astral projection to enter through his dreams to interrogate him. He had a dangerous thought. If he were able to turn the tables on the creature, perhaps he could learn information from her. Further, he discovered that if she were a vampire, a true bride of Dracula, religious items used to repel her would be difficult to come by. The passages revealed that vampires, especially those from the line of Dracula, were only susceptible to religious items that were in existence during the time in which the vampire was alive. Suspecting that St Armand may have been alive around the time of the French Revolution, any religious rituals and crucifixes would have to be nearly 200 years old in order to effect her. This was important because any ward they would create would need to have old Church rituals. Fortunately, they knew of one abbey that still practiced the Ambrosian Rite – the Dominican Monastery in Ellorio, Spain.

It was decided, therefore, that this upcoming night was one in which he would allow St Armand to take his memories but he would, in turn, try and find something in hers that would be helpful. However, her astral form was able to find him, he knew that if her powers came to full bore, she may be able to transport herself to him and merge with her astral form, something he certainly did not wish to occur.

The team discussed the dilemma they had. They decided that that they would not interfere with Fechtner’s dangerous plan but would be ready nearby in case things went badly, they could at least come in and extract him. During the day, however, Illari spent more time trying to download schematics of where in the British Museum the Key to the Valley was held and with Ms. Porte’s help, he felt he had gathered valuable information about how they might pull off this heist.

That night, as predicted, St Armand arrived at Fechtner’s room. Whether she was there in body or merely a projection through his dream was unknown. She again seduced him and while they shared intimate physical embraces, she probed his mind and took from him what she needed. Whatever secrets he had were lain bare before her. However, Fechtner welled up everything inside of himself and put his willpower to work, trying to find what secrets she had. He learned the following pieces of information:

  • The location of the notorious Scholomance which was located near Sibiu, Romania.
  • Whether she was permanently located there or not, St Armand was currently in Scotland.
  • She was working under direct orders from Dracula to spy on Wolfgang but she also wanted to see if he knew anything about a suspected mole or double agent within Edom.
  • He discovered that not only did she know the Nazi, Helmut Dorring, but he was still alive (in one form or another). The fact that he was alive, and a ‘major figure’ in the community meant he was likely extremely dangerous. Worse yet, St Armand also was aware that Dorring had a ‘boss’ who was of great concern to her.

However, St Armand detected something or was called away quickly. So when they were finished with their tryst, she made a hasty, and seemingly angry, retreat from the room. It was at that point that Fechtner got up, mentally shattered form his experience, and told his allies what had happened.

What happened next was a frantic series of calls to loved ones and people who could be in danger from Dracula’s tendrils. Of great importance was Cal’s call to Lord Caldwell’s people. He wanted to make sure Gloriana Ambry, his girlfriend, was safe. He had Caldwell’s people set up a scheme to get her away from her job and put her to work on a well paying assignment outside of London. Further, the agents spent time switching around the items in their possession as they knew the location of the Dracula Dossier was compromised and that if it were still in Illari’s hands, it could be easily taken by St Armand or her agents.

The following day was spent preparing a variety of possible plans. England as the next stop? Or the Scholomance? Or somewhere else? The team was collecting favors as well as assignments – some more distasteful than others – and they needed to consider executing some of the tasks. They finalized a few details with Shakti and tried to finish more of their own projects in peace. It was also decided that in order to prevent Wolfgang from being attacked by St Armand again, they would have him stay up all night as a way of not dreaming. This could buy them some time until they figured out what course of action to conduct.

That night, close to midnight, Cal received a call from the mysterious Hopkins, who again was using a device that disguised his or her voice. Hopkins was frantic saying that he noticed that major activity spiked with GCHQ which likely, under orders from Edom, pinpointed the agents’ location in Switzerland and the chatter was sending something big towards the agents. They had to escape immediately as their lives were in danger.

Just as the team was ready to make an informed decision to act, they began hearing gunfire and commotions all around them. Seeing out the window to the main property, they saw hordes of creatures clawing up through the ground. Within moments, there were over 50 grotesque creatures throughout the property and that number was growing. They raced to get their belongings and supplies from the rooms and were attacked in the halls, attacked in their rooms and faced danger wherever they went. They were plunged into darkness and were running the risk of being overrun if they did not act quickly.

Fortunately, Fecthner remembered that Shakti had a private helicopter. They communicated with Franco who was enjoying the . . . company of Ms. Porte. He knew where the helicopter was and would try to get himself and Ms. Porte to safety there to make a daring escape. They tried to find Shakti but in the chaos and confusion, they had no real options to do so. Every individual would have to fend for themselves.

With some of their avenues cut off and these creatures multiplying by the minute, they had to act quickly. They found that the creatures were impacted by bright lights and used a combination of weapons, flash grenades and holy water grenades to fend them off. The creatures, however, were extremely resilient and most of their physical attacks were weakened. When, in the stairwell of the building that contained the helicopter, they were beset upon, one of the creatures managed to attack Fechtner and drug him down the stairs, making his way towards the basement. It was then that a new figure appeared, a woman later identified as the mysterious ‘Heartbreaker.’ In a series of acrobatic and martial moves, she assisted him, and allowed him to escape. He was impressed by many things about her, including her powerful crossbow but was most impressed by her ability to destroy these creatures and save him. Was she the possible double agent within Edom that St Armand had been searching for?

Fecthner reunited with the team and discovered that Vicente and Illari had been badly hurt, Illari more so and was close to death. He and Cal had to carry their partners the rest of the way to the helipad (where Franco and Ms. Porte were waiting with Champagne). But the celebration was short lived. They immediately got into the helicopter and were prepared to take off when the doors burst open and a horde of ravenous vampire creatures had flooded onto the roof. It was mere seconds before they were overrun when they managed to get away intact. They decided that the UK was the best place to go as Illari and Vicente needed medical attention and there were things that needed their attention back in England.

They landed, went to ground and found attention for Illari. They needed to lie low for a week and recover before planning their next move.

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Episode 35: Scaroused

May 6th, 2018 – May 9th, 2018

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Subsequent to the events in Spain, the agents contacted Omar Shakti, as they knew this mysterious individual had vital information with which he was willing to share. Shakti’s people returned with a private communication that they would meet up at the Chendi Andermatt hotel in Andermatt, Switzerland. The team then gathered their supplies and headed out to Switzerland, prepared for the long journey ahead of them.

Upon arriving in Andermatt, they took in the entire town, seeing it as a quaint tourist town with a strong skiing element. However, Illari Vassyl, in seeing the amount of tourists, kept a close watch for any professional agents that were in the area. Unfortunately, he did notice some suspicious characters but was not clear on what they were doing. Were they looking for the agents or were they trying to investigate Shakti and his operation?

The team discovered that the only way to get to the hotel was through the gondola service that would ferry them up and down the mountain. They left Savas Osman and Pascal Lerue on Andermatt and made the journey to the gondola station. They discovered that the hotel was closed, but an representative from the hotel came forth and stated that whereas it was close, Mr. Shakti was expecting them. For the most part they would have the entire hotel to themselves for this private meeting.

They had the entire gondola to themselves and upon arriving at the station, they could see the massive hotel in the distance. They were greeted by an assistant of Mr. Shakti’s, Ms. Ximena Porte, who was going to act as their liaison and hostess for the duration of the trip. She seemed to take an instant liking to Franco Selvaggio as there was a spark between them.

Ms. Porte explained that the entire resort would be at their disposal over the next few days as they met with Mr. Shakti. Every need would be catered to and every desire they had would be attended to. They were the honored guests of Mr. Shakti and his hotel would be completely theirs to explore.

Upon arriving at the hotel, porters checked them into private luxury suites and they noticed that there was strong security peppered throughout the area. Cal Morrison, ever interested in examining the electronic security of a location, discovered that the section of the hotel they were in, had minimal surveillance points, likely due to the fact that high end clients wanted no form of security, monitoring their activities.

Ms. Porte explained that Mr. Shakti would be indisposed until dinner and they should relax, freshen up and enjoy some cocktails and some light refreshments that were provided. Cal took the opportunity to further explore the Bathory Journals and was again haunted by what he read. He was coming ever closer to a dangerous line that may may end up crossing.

That evening they met up with Mr. Shakti for dinner where they had some initial discussions. He explained that he was interested in helping them as Edom had double-crossed him and interfered in his schemes. It seemed as if Mr. Shakti was willing to be a formidable ally of theirs, but this would not come without some favors they would have to repay. But all of these things would be discussed over the next few days as his guests.

When Shakti was pressed by Cal and Illari over the status of the mysterious queen they suspected he was shielding, he did explain that the queen was, in fact, present, but she was resting. She was the major reason he was considering allying with Edom in the first place as they were delivering her to him. However, the actions of the agents in Belgium some months ago set her free. Therefore Shakti had no further need of Edom but the relationship between he and they was strained. He was willing to play along with them long enough to use some of their resources but when asked about the queen, Nitocris, he was vague in details.

However, they seemed interested in pressing him on some of the favors he alluded to he would want performed. He explained he was looking for a treasure that was on location at the British Museum, an Egyptian artifact known as the ‘Key of the Valley.’ This item, on loan from the Egyptian government, was supposedly an ancient jeweled item from centuries past that bestowed the owner with political and arcane power and would be something that quite likely Nitocris would desire. When asked why he did not place his own resources towards stealing it, he merely explained that there were legends associated with the item that prevented his agents from taking it. he had to deal with outsiders and that is where the agents came in.

After this, they adjourned for the evening with Vicente Rojas going out on the luxurious deck to take in the expansive view of the Swiss Alps, while smoking a cigar, basking in the first few moments of peace and solace he was able to enjoy in quite some time. At the same time, Franco and Ms. Porte began to explore each others’ company in a far more intimate setting. Meanwhile, however, Wolfgang Fechtner retired early for the evening, unaware of the events that would soon transpire.

As Wolfgang slept, he had disturbing and chilling dreams. He awoke, completely paralyzed in the bed, with a figure crawling from underneath. A beautiful women, shrouded in mostly darkness, seemed to reveal herself. She brought him to a night of passion before seemingly invading his psyche. He could tell she was invading his personal thoughts and surface memories. In the morning when he woke, there was no sign of her but there seemed to be a small wound on his neck and a drop of blood on the sheets. He was instantly terrified but at the same time aroused.

The following morning he applied some of the Bloomberg Serum they had in their possession and informed the others. However, it was unclear whether or not he had a strangely erotic and terrifying dream or if this truly happened. When attempting to warn the others, many were unsure of his reliability as the wound had disappeared. However, Shakti agreed to post a guard inside or outside his room or both the following night. Wolfgang immediately agreed.

The following night after dinner the agents relaxed and played some high stakes games of baccarat against Shakti’s dealer, with Vicente losing and with Franco winning fairly well. After they retired, Wolfgang retired with the guard posted nearby. However, he was again visited by the unusual woman who spoke an antiquated, Revolutionary-era style French. As the psychic and tenderly physical assault again occurred, Wolfgang was slightly more prepared. However, despite his preparation, she was still able to take advantage of him and ascertain his thoughts. However, Wolfgang was able to employ his strength of will to ascertain thoughts from her mind. He discovered that she was involved with the Hound, in some capacity, had direct, high level dealings with Dracula and there was something floating around in her mind called ‘Operation Black Parade.’ Still, however, Wolfgang was powerless to prevent her from stealing more of his thoughts.

Meanwhile, Illari spent part of the night researching Nitocris and found she had a sinister legend attributed to her in both Egypt’s past and possible in that of Babylon’s past, as a vile and dark figure. He also discovered that Shakti’s connection to the Black Pharaoh was one that likely put in league with powerful black magic as well as an ancient deity, often revered in secrecy in dynastic Egypt known as Nyarlathotep. Whether Shakti was a true ally of an enemy of an enemy with his own evil agenda was becoming increasingly blurred.

Finally, Illari put together the stories of what Wolfgang was talking about as well as the description of the mysterious woman who had been invading his dreams. He was shocked when he discovered that there was a strong likelihood this was none other than Madame St. Armand, one of the brides of Dracula!

In their next meeting with Shakti, he suggested he had a variety of powers and abilities at his disposal, both arcane as well as mundane. But one of the major revelations he provided was that, if pressed, he could arrange a meeting with one of the Dukes of Edom. Specifically, he had dealings with Hound, whom he stated was Vendalla French, a name the group had encountered before. This was somewhat surprising as the agents had suspected, for some time, that Ms. French was in some way connected to Edom. There was an attempt to explain the danger they were in but Shakti assured them that his men and the remote location would keep them safe. They had heavy protection around the gondola which served as the only way up and down the mountain with any reasonable success.

The group continued to debate what approach they needed and what favors Shakti could perform for them. It seemed as if they had several options at this disposal, but with Shakti only able to provide limited amounts of support, even though that support was potent and valuable. The negotiations would have to continue but now they were aware of the powerful and frightening man with whom they were dealing. Was he any better or worse than Dracula, himself?

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Episode 34: Facing Their Demons

April 30th, 2018 – May 5th, 2018

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Franco Selvaggio and Savas Osman took the train from Paris to Barcelona and then from Barcelona to the small town of Elorrio, Spain where the rest of the team had been waiting, watching, the Dominican Monastery. Since Wolfgang Fechtner and Cal Morrison had already overseen much of the leg work with regards to their current assignment, as well as made contact with Monsignor Cesare Rinaldi, the work was ready to be set in motion. With Osman having seen his friend Marie Lambert off to Norway for safety, he was able to focus on the task at hand.

As Osman and Franco arrived at the hotel, they noticed that Cal seemed unkempt and disheveled, the experiences of dealing with the host of creatures and pouring over the Bathory Journals clearly taking a toll on him. However, Illari Vasyl, acting as his personal therapist, was trying to keep the situation under control. Quickly meeting in Wolfgang’s room, they informed Franco and Osman what was happening and they had intended to breach the monastery to see what the Monsignor was so interested in. After all, they, themselves, had experienced some of the evil presence that had permeated the area. The Monsignor was certainly on to something and he had the each of Bishop Jean-Baptiste Champavier who could bring them into the Society of St Lazarus of Bethany if the Monsignor gave his blessing. The best news was that Cal and Wolfgang had found a secret tunnel that led from the forest into the monastery which would allow them to gain entrance and investigate.

As the team prepared to set off on their mission, Wolfgang went off to collect the Monsignor from his him. What he found was a man who had darkened his windows, set up his many maps and texts and based upon his materials, was clearly transfixed and devoted to the philosophical position of the Omega Point, a quasi scientific, quasi religious position that suggested everything was pointed towards divine unification.

During their discussion, Monsignor Rinaldi revealed that he had lost a good friend some months ago, a Ghigo Fratelli, who had been investigating the whereabouts of an ‘Aria Cardellini,’ who was last seen in the presence of one Henri Valant, a name that was well known to Wolfgang. Not only was this the man who they had acquired the Bathory Journals from but he was likely connected with a human trafficking ring out of Vienna. This was information Wolfgang felt that Franco had to know as soon as possible as it contributed clues to the mystery of his missing wife, Aria. As soon as the team met back up with Wolfgang and the Monsignor, the Monsignor related to the group his tale regarding Fratelli, Valant and Cardellini. Franco, naturally, was stunned that there was information regarding his wife, possibly in Vienna.

The team made their way to the forest around the monastery. Wolfgang showed everyone where the secret tunnel was and they gathered their gear and descended, unsure of what to expect. They immediately were confronted by the darkness that enveloped them and they sensed a powerful evil that was all around them. Cal, instantly began seeing and experiencing phenomena that may or may not have been real. They progressed very carefully towards the monastery.

Moving through the passage and quietly exiting, Vicente Rojas and Savas Osman opened the secret door into the monastic store room. Cal Morrison noticed that a monk had passed by and he waited until the monk was out of view. The team were awe inspired by the mere scope of the building and knew that they had to make their way, quite likely, to the cellar. Using their knowledge of the architecture of other such buildings, they had a sneaking suspicion of where the door would be to the basement.

Upon finding the door, they were surprised to a see a bar over it with intricate carvings, with the inscription of Matthew 10:1: “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” Clearly the monks were keeping something they felt was dangerous in the basement. As the others studied the inscription, Savas turned and noticed a large tapestry hanging on the wall behind them. It depicted a man naked, in chains, surrounded by monks. Behind the monks there were more monks engaging in horrific and grotesque behavior, such as greed, gluttony and lust, among other horrible acts. Savas had no idea what this could possibly mean and he was wholly unprepared for what he and the others were about to experience.

Entering the basement the group encountered various rooms converted into cells and they all began to experience horrific apparitions and paranormal activity as the ghosts and demonic entities that seemed to inhabit the basement were all around them, tempting them and trying to draw them in. As their sanity eroded with an assault on their senses from questionable decisions in their lives, they began to understand the serious danger they were in. Cal, whose sanity was already on the brink, began to see visions of Gloriana Ambry, his girlfriend, who had been transformed into some horrific creature and Wolfgang was confronted by visions of greed and Illari with visions of grotesque and perverse lust.

As the beleaguered group came to the end of the hallway, they discovered another iron wrought door with a similar bar as upstairs over the door. As soon as Cal carefully unbarred the door, he was attacked, mentally, by some kind of malevolent force that attempted to destroy his mind but the strength of the attack was enough to push him back twenty feet across the cold stone floor. The rest of them, however, saw a man chained to the floor with a metal collar around his neck, appearing as the man in the tapestry upstairs. He was naked and covered in scars. But it was clear this was the cause of the evil they had been feeling.

The demon seemed impervious to many of the mundane attacks but was less resilient to their attacks with holy weapons. Illari was quickly dispatched as some force literally seemed to be dragging him off to Hell with Monsignor Rinaldi trying to defend the team with prayer and holy defenses. It was not until Savas entered into a mental combat with the demon that the tide began to turn in their favor. As Savas dueled with the creature, he eventually came out victorious which was fortunate as the team was on the verge of collapse with regards to the sanity blasting attacks and vicious physical assaults the creature had access to.

As Savas engaged the creature in combat, he seemed to gain an understanding of the origin of the creature. Centuries ago the monks that lived here were corrupted and worldly, engaging in endless sins against each other and sins of the flesh. They had found a way to wash away their sins and place them into a single vessel, the former Castilian of the area who they felt was unworthy of leadership. For generations the monks would blissfully commit their sins and them ‘pass them on’ to their captured and possessed slave they kept locked in the basement. Eventually, it seemed, the creature was brimming over with evil and the monks in the modern day who had rejected this practice found themselves unable to contend with the monster and were caught between their inability to release it and their inability to defeat it.

As the possessed man lay dead, the monks appeared to know what was happening. The monks’ leader, Fr. Martin Napores, was grateful for the service they had provided and allowed the team to stay with them in order to rest and regain their fractured sanity. During their stay, Illari and Cal managed to convince the monks to allow them to use the monastery as a safe haven on the condition that weapons could never be allowed inside the walls of this place of peace. It was a deal Cal was not overly comfortable with but he relented and accepted the fact that they could use this holy place for safety while leaving the weapons outside. Fr. Napores suggested they use the weapon of prayer more than weapons of man.

Cal began to calm himself over the research her had done into the Bathory Journals and his mind began to return to where it once was. He realized that the texts were dangerous and he would need to continue to read them but he would need to be more careful.

Monsignor Rinaldi left but not before promising them to speak with the Bishop to get them the recommendation they needed. He also left them with the means to get in touch with him in the future.

It was then that the team decided on their next course of action. They wished to set up their meeting with the mysterious Omar Shakti as they felt he could be of some help, contacted his people and set the time and place. After that, they were committed to returning to London to follow up on a variety of leads there.

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Episode 33: A Plot Revealed!

April 25th, 2018 – April 30th, 2018

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Whereas the plan was to go to Elorrio, Spain, where the enigmatic monsignor, Cesare Rinaldi could likely be found, there was other business to which the group needed to attend. A power broker, fixer and all around suspicious, yet useful individual was nearby. Several times and several instances the group had encountered the name Sigmund Walther, an ex-Nazi colonel who had been a shadowy power broker in Europe for decades. Walther likely knew several answers that the group needed and despite his grotesque reputation, he was someone they felt would be useful with whom to speak.

Since Walther’s mansion was close by, outside of Marseilles, Wolfgang Fechtner posited it would be a good use of their time and resources to set up a meet with him while in the area. Everything they had discovered indicated he was a font of useful information – if not exactly with their current investigation then, at the very least, with the details that surrounded it. Pulling up Walther’s jacket from the BND, Wolfgang discovered that not only had Walther been an excellent source of information regarding a variety of criminals, arms deals and assassinations, but that CIA and BND had both been using him on and off over the years, including, ironically, the Mossad and various governments as Walther seemed to know everyone and whom to speak to about getting jobs done. Even more curious was the fact that Wolfgang’s old mentor and handler, Johan Schmidt used him but also put out a hit on Walther that was either unsuccessful or never enacted. Either way, Wolfgang discovered the protocols used to contact Walther so the team decided to pose as BND agents to make contact with him. Despite how useful he was likely to be, Pascal Lerue expressed his distaste of dealing with someone once aligned with Hitler’s regime.

However, Wolfgang found one other interesting item. The shadowy N Branch, the secretive sub-group of the German intelligence group, had a safehouse in London that Wolfgang noted and would later pay a visit.

Walther’s mansion was a palace of luxury, amid tight electronic and personal security. Whereas his agents were welcoming, there was an air of danger as the heavily armed guards made the point that they were present for one reason. Getting in to see Walther, they waited as he finished another conversation on his back patio. When he finally entered the lounge where they waited, he greeted them as if they were old friends, warm and inviting. Of course, Walther looked excellent for his age (which had to be late 80’s to early 90’s) and this was a man who was spry and fit, as well as apparently calculating and shrewd.

Illari Vasyl and Vicente Rojas kept a close eye on him as Wolfgang and Cal conducted some of the initial questions and pleasantries. Eventually they went to his dining room where they spoke politely about art and music and at the end of dinner, got down to business.

Ultimately, Wolfgang had some pointed information he wanted from Walther, backed up by close to a million dollars in diamonds. He asked about two individuals likely to be brides of Dracula, Madame St. Amand and Countess Ida Verkany. Then he asked about two other men, Luftwaffe Major Helmut Doring and Dr. Frank Braun.

Walther was intrigued over the situation. Whereas Walther had minimal knowledge – or at least minimal knowledge he was willing to share – he stated that he could find what they wanted but it would cost them. He offered a deal that they could enter into. Walther suggested that if Wolfgang and the rest of the supposed BND team were to engage in a clandestine plan for him, he would reveal this information. When pressed for the details of the plan, Walther revealed that there was a public figure that individuals wanted to ‘disappear.’ The supposed victim was to be Monica Lupei, a well-known human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner.

With that, their business had concluded and they left Walther, knowing that the next move was in their hands. They could take action against Ms. Lupei or they could abandon dealing with Walter. It was a topic for some debate.

En route to Elorrio, Cal continued his research into the cursed Bathory Journals which began to play tricks on his mind – perhaps. As he began to see more and more of the horrors that had been committed, his mind began to wander and he saw blood on his hands. It was at that point that Wolfgang saw some apparition flash past the vehicle, almost forcing him off the road. When he got out to investigate the car, there were gashes in the hood, something that had to be very powerful to have made as the vehicle was reinforced with military grade armor. After shaking off the shock, Illari confronted Cal with what he was doing and Cal dug in, insisting that pouring over the texts was a reasonable plan. But soon they were back on the road and soon they were in Elorrio, a small and quiet Spanish town.

Arriving in the small town, the team instantly discovered that if Msgr Rinaldi was here, he would not be difficult to find as the town was very small and seemed to cater to naturalists and hikers. They parked the vehicle behind the modern hotel (in order to hide the strange gash marks in the hood). Upon checking in, Illari asked about any unusual rumors or discussions of local legends and whereas the young lady behind the desk seemed to be aware of some, she downplayed the possibility and made it clear she did not believe in such things. Cal noticed that when she gave him his room key, she hesitated and switched keys, giving him something different. This instantly got his attention and when he made it up to his room, he approached very cautiously.

When he got into his hotel room, carrying his strange texts and looking disheveled, he was greeted by a site that he was not at all expecting: his CIA superior, Eloise Buckley as well as agents Tyler Gold and Sarah Hester. Buckley wanted answers and wanted to know why Cal had not only been distant in his communications but also had been involved in dangerous and high profile actions throughout the continent.

During their discussions, Buckley made a few things very clear: she wanted Cal to work to recruit Omar Shakti, whom she knew he had been in contact with, as a CIA asset. Further, she wanted to ensure that he worked to erode the power and influence of Edom as best he could. Finally, she mentioned a dangerous agent floating throughout Europe, Matias Emerlich, a man whom had a close relationship with Wolfgang. She provided Cal the ordered to take Emerlich out as he was a dangerous and unpredictable figure circulating through suspicious circles.

Whereas Buckley was increasingly suspicious of where Cal’s work was headed, he was able to convince her that he was still a useful field asset. He showed her some of the designs he had constructed for his ‘Cal Tech’ weaponry, as well as some of the ash he had collected from the corpse of Claude Vignon, the supposed son of Dracula. With this, Buckley was convinced that Cal should not be brought back kicking and screaming to London but she made it clear he would be on a short leash. With this, she stated that either Sarah Hester or Tyler Gold (or both) would be stationed near him while in Europe. Cal had one final request: he wanted to see if Buckley could use her contacts to have their vehicle fixed, even though he knew he ran the risk of having the vehicle compromised by CIA analysts.

Later, when the group decided to make their way to the abbey in Elorrio, they did, in fact, find the surveillance devices and deactivated them. It was at that point that Cal revealed his entire conversation with Buckley. The group then made their way to the abbey to see what they could uncover. Of course, they knew the monks and friars were secretive, so they would have to approach carefully.

Staking out the abbey, Wolfgang and Illari observed the abbey to see if they could discover any secret entrances – which they did. Cal and Pascal used drones to monitor the nearby forest and Vicente began to observe some of the locals.

Cal’s drones did discover something unusual as the images that came back where dark and distorted and even seemed to show some sinister lights and images that Illari later took to be something supernatural and dangerous. Vicente, meanwhile, encountered one of the friars who gave him a stern warning – stay away, as there was a clear danger to outsiders that were nearby.

When Cal moved his drones to other areas, they saw another figure with his own monitoring equipment that was watching the abbey. This was likely the Monsignor. The team went into action and drove their vehicle to his spot.

Indeed, the figure was Monsignor Rinaldi and whereas he was not interested in speaking out in the open, he agreed to meet with them at their hotel, especially after showing him their letter of introduction from Bishop Jean-Baptiste Champavier. In a short amount of time, they were back across town at the hotel, having an open and frank discussion with Rinaldi.

Rinaldi revealed, between generous, stiff drinks, that he was in Elorrio investigating some strange legends at the monastery, believing that something truly sinister was inside. He stated that if they were to help him, he would certainly provide the recommendation they were looking for to give to Bishop Champavier in order to get sponsorship for the St Lazarus Society. However, Rinaldi warned them that his methods were often controversial and his work was dangerous and filled with peril. The team stated that they were more than up for it.

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