March 31st, 2018 – April 5th, 2018
At the Vatican apartments where the investigative team was staying, great care had to be taken to prevent Cal Morrison from doing anything dangerous or self-destructive as his experience with the Trammel Testament had, at least for the time being, shattered his mind. Wolfgang Fechtner kept watch over him but was, at the same time, leery of all the new faces that had come into their lives, especially Pascal Lerue’s old friend Savas Osman. Fechtner knew that the amount of individuals to whom they exposed their secrets to may likely eventually catch up with them.
Osman, however, desperate to prove his usefulness, decided to go out into the city of Rome in order to try and get to the bottom of several rumors and legends he was hearing discussed. He knew some some communities in Rome where he may be able to pick up some rumors about some of the supernatural tales that were being spun in the Muslim community.
Meeting with a Muslim scholar, Dr. Yilmaz, Osman discovered that there were, indeed, rumors going through the more extremist members of the communities, attributing deaths to ghosts, effrit or some other supernatural force. Whereas the professor, himself, believed the discussions of supernatural activities to be part of Western intelligence agencies using tricks to conduct unusual assassinations, he did tell Osman that there was a man, locally, with ISIS and Al-Queda ties who may have more information. Dr. Yilmaz warned him, however, that this man was dangerous, a radical and may or may not be willing to talk. His name was Javed Al-Pari (which was a name known to the rest of the team).
Meanwhile, back at the Vatican apartments, Luigi Cardellini and Franco Selvaggio had a more in-depth conversation. Luigi was able to impart the news to his brother-in-law, that Franco’s wife and Luigi’s sister, Anna, may still be alive and whereas he had not provided the clues to him earlier, connections to Anna could be found in Vienna. Luigi admitted that he had not revealed this earlier due to Franco possibly compromising the mission they were on. However, Luigi stated they would have to investigate her whereabouts soon.
Pascal Lerue determined that it was time to try and contact Arnbjorg Strand, the Norwegian thief they encountered in Vienna. Ms. Strand had made off with the text, the Vordenburg Diary, for an unnamed patron. Since the team recently found references to the Diary at the Vatican Secret Archives, associated with the Society of St Lazarus of Bethany. Lerue felt that he had to make an attempt to find out what was in this book as it likely had valuable information.
In contacting, Strand, she was reluctant to reveal who her patron was but promised she would get in touch with the individual and see if they were interested in meeting with Lerue and his team. However, she cautioned that the patron was secretive and was likely someone Lerue had heard of.
That evening representatives from Cardinal Heinrich Ausland set up a meeting with Vicente Rojas. The Cardinal’s envoy stated there was some matter of great importance which the Cardinal wished to speak to Vicente and Vicente should come to his apartment that evening. Vicente agreed and the meet was set up for later that evening.
As the group debriefed with Osman after his meeting in Rome, with the professor, the group revealed they knew exactly who Al-Pari was as they had encountered that name before. They revealed that Al-Pari was a contact of Haluk Ozturk, the Turkish individual with ISIS ties. It was at this point that the group handed over the Hopkins Note to Osman, showing exactly how they initially got involved in the investigation into the Dracula Dossier.
It was at this point that Wolfgang, after looking over the mysterious Alraune Handout, began to conduct research into some of the more clandestine operations that referenced the German group, N Branch, which may have had in depth information into whatever passed for the ‘German Vampire Program.’ He began looking at references to a Luftwaffe colonel, Helmut Doring, whose fate seemed to be that of having been assassinated during World War II but could have been spotted after the war. Either reports of his death were misrepresented or there was something more . . . sinister at play.
Later, when Vicente went to his meeting with Cardinal Ausland, he encountered a variety of unusual scenes which seemed to tip him off that something was wrong. But when he arrived at the Cardinal’s apartment, the door was ajar – something was amiss!
Meanwhile back at the apartments, Wolfgang was preparing for an early night, but at that exact moment he caught a glimpse of a reflection. He ducked and that is when the shooting started. The team, spread throughout their various rooms, were under fire as men, likely in the employ of Edom were descending with extreme prejudice. As the fighting took place through several rooms, with professionals using silenced weapons, Vicente was investigating his own mystery, eventually picking up a discarded gun on the floor and finding the body of Cardinal Ausland in his reading room. That is when he heard the Swiss Guard arriving, clearly having been tipped off and clearly the result of some attempted frame up involving Edom.
The fighting back at the apartments was furious and brutal. During the altercation, Wolfgang made plans to secure as many of the documents as possible as well as try and protect Cal, who was still in the middle of his nervous breakdown. Lerue and Osman managed to dispatch their attackers but Franco was not so lucky. He took the brunt of many of the attacks and watched as Luigi was gunned down before his eyes.
Vicente was somehow able to convince the Swiss Guard he was not responsible for the Cardinal’s death and demanded to speak with his friend, Alfred Wagner, only then revealing that Wagner had been killed, as well. It was at this point that he was able to convince the guards that there was a plot against the Pope, which distracted them enough to get them to follow him to where the attackers were – back at the apartments as he knew his friends were likely under attack from Edom agents.
During the altercation back at the apartments, Pascal encountered another would-be assassin but this one was in the company of a mystery man who was more subtle than armed, and the man made references to trying to find ‘the book,’ likely referencing the Dracula Dossier, itself. However, as Lerue fought with the assassin, the mystery man seemed to realize the mission was being scrubbed as they likely under estimated the strength and resolve of the team. He slipped away as Lerue was still engaged in a death struggle with his opponent.
When Vicente and the Swiss Guard arrived, they saw the destruction that had been caused and immediately took everyone into custody but placed an unconscious Franco in the hospital, along with Lerue who had been badly hurt. Cal was placed under psychiatric observation for his erratic behavior. Over the next 24 hours the Swiss Guard cleaned things up and did their best to avoid a scandal of a team of agents as well as two dead senior officials at the Vatican. However, it was clear – the team was to be expelled from The Vatican never to return (in their current identities anyway). Charges would not be brought against them if they left immediately. However, the group learned, to their horror that their injured teammates had been transferred to a civilian hospital in Rome, likely with no protection. They immediately left The Vatican to place protections on their friends.
Upon arriving, they could tell that there were some foreign agents at the hospital. However, their friends seemed safe. Wolfgang was approached by a woman who had a hospital gift bag and stated that she bought an item for his friend who was still upstairs. Handing the item to Wolfgang, he realized it was a biography of Anthony Hopkins. Clearly this was some kind of clue regarding the Dracula Dossier. When Wolfgang opened the book, he recognized some cryptography in the text which had a code to meet at a local cafe in an hour.
Upon arriving, the woman had the group taken to a back room where she was with a pair of shadowy characters. She introduced herself as Melissa Walford from MI6. MI6 was watching over their hurt friends and ensuring that they would not be harmed but had an offer. Details had recently come to her agency’s attention regarding a mysterious box where the point of origin was Romania. Currently, the box was sitting in a warehouse in Rome and suspected that the team would be interested in investigating this mystery box . . .
How could the team pass this up?