Night's Black Agents: Dracula Dossier

Episode 18: Whatever it Takes

February 6th, 2018 – February 11th, 2018

Still waiting the warehouse that Levi provided to the team, Franco Selvaggio desperately needed medical attention from the injuries he had suffered dealing with the terrorist cell. Vicente Rojas and Cal Morrison were unsure where Wolfgang Fechtner had gone and were in need of Illari Vasyl who had also gone off grid. However, their prayers were answered when Luigi Cardellini spotted Illari approaching with someone else. A quick check determined it was none other than Pascal Lerue, the man who had originally brought them all together.

As Illari quickly went to tend to Franco’s wounds, Cal brought he and Pascal up to speed on what was happening, specifically, the prisoners they had upstairs, one of which being Haluk Ozturk. Cal, livid that COS Lou Mangiotti seemingly double crossed them on the deal, was unsure what the best next steps were but for now they had to lay low. But time was limited because, if what Ozturk said was true, he was being relentless chased through the Middle East and Europe by some sinister force.

Meanwhile, Wolfgang had found his way to the bar that one of the river clans operated, where Marika Skinsky normally frequented. Figuring that she could help him avoid the heat, he tried to send her a message. But before she could arrive, the entire building was surrounded by Bucharest police, including their special tactical teams, doing a sweep of the area. Wolfgang was caught up in their dragnet and carted away. However, when they got to the police station, everyone in the back of the truck was led out except for him. The police put a bag over his head and took him elsewhere.

After an hour of traveling, the destination was reached. Wolfgang was taken out of the truck and drug to a basement. When the hood was removed from his head, he was in a long corridor with bullet holes and blood stains on the wall behind him, clearly once the site of several firing squads, sanctioned or not. A figure behind a door began to speak with him. The figure, while polite, was also firm. He explained that Hopkins was a liar and a dangerous individual who was desperate to be relevant. If Hopkins was truly a friend, he would not have gotten the investigators involved in a game they could not win. The man also suggested that people who Wolfgang loved could be hurt. After all, certain individuals could develop a taste for their blood . . .

Wolfgang managed to keep it together but obviously he was rattled. The man suggested that if things went differently, he could find a place for Wolfgang and his friends in his organization but the Dracula Dossier would have to be delivered to him. The man was impressed at the level of quality Wolfgang had put into the forgery he had passed off to Hamilton Hoyt and his associates in The Union after all. The man gave Wolfgang a burner phone to contact him later but cautioned his kindness and mercy was a one time offer. If they had to meet under such circumstances again, the situation would go much differently. Much differently.

After Wolfgang was dumped on the streets of Bucharest, he contacted the team and Illari went out to pick him up while he was out purchasing a silver solution he was going to adminisiter to Ozturk. When the two returned to their safe house, they debriefed with Pascal who revealed that the individual with whom Wolfgang was speaking was most likely the Duke of Edom known as Elvis. It was at this point that Pascal revealed the trove of information he had gathered on Elvis, one piece being a shipment that Elvis was interested in – something coming from Egypt to Brussels that he seemed interested in.

Cal knew that they either had to release Ozturk or kill him as they no longer needed him and merely being around him was a liability. The silver based solution that Illari administered was, hopefully, going to act as a bane to Vampires, specifically the one that was chasing him, possibly Dracula himself. They all agreed to contact Lou Mangiotti and try to negotiate a trade in exchange for either safe passage of information.

Upon contacting Magiotti, Cal was livid over the mess that had happened in Bucharest. Mangiotti was upset, as well, as explained his agents were not ordered to kill Cal’s team (evidenced by the fact that they shot at the tires and not at people) but explained that their intent was for Cal’s team to try and intercept Ozturk but let him escape. It had to seem real so Mangiotti’s men actually wanted the team to fail and let Ozturk to escape so they could follow him to the next link in the terrorist pipeline. Cal questioned Mangiotti on Elvis and Edom and did not really seem to know much about either, and Cal believed him. Of course, Mangiotti lost interest in Cal’s ravings when the mention of Vampires came up. However, in the end, the two men seemed to calm down and come to an agreement. Cal would turn over Ozturk and in return, Mangiotti would provide Fox Schillnger with more breadth, Mangiotti would give Cal access to Adam ‘The Cyclops’ Cylinksi, and he would make good on his promise to set Cal up with the bona fides to meet with his shady criminal contact. The contact, Sigmund Walther, was likely someone who could help them – for a steep price. But he would set up a meet when Cal wanted one but warned that dealing with Walther would be a dark experience.

Whereas the heat was still on in Bucharest, there were a number of things that still were open ended. They felt that there were investigations still warranted at Bichi National Bank, Heal the Children as well as the possible link to Vatican City’s Teutonic Cemetery and then there was the fascinating option of Pascal’s Egypt to Brussels shipment that Elvis seemed interested in. In the end, they decided getting what Elvis wanted or destroying it could land a nasty blow, even though it would attract his wrath. Pascal did, however, throw in one more complication – if and when they went to Vatican City, he was fairly certain he had an ‘in’ with an individual who could point them in the right direction of an item he was interested in and had been chasing down for some time – the fabled Spear of Longinus, an item, if real, could certainly be a legitimate weapon against vampires and even Dracula, himself.

However, in the end, the team decided the best plan was to hit the Axel Logistics shipment to Brussels. This had to be something that would complicate Elvis’ life. In the meantime, Wolfgang checked the details on Javed Al-Pari, the contact that Ozturk was supposed to hand over the coordinates to, and discovered he was on the radar of several intelligence organizations.

The group decided to investigate everything they could on the Egyptian shipment. Cal and Pascal worked together to find that the only thing that was likely the shipment was a shipment of Egyptian artifacts but was likely being guarded by two Edom trained teams. Fortunately, Cal was able to slip in and change the route to something more manageable for the team to hit.

Meanwhile, Wolfgang and Franco made a midnight run to Italy where they decided to raid the Cardellini armory, a well hidden cache of weapons that would likely come in useful to the Egyptian shipment hit. However, they ran into a pair of guards who were watching over the shipment. Spying on them for a moment, they were clearly not intelligence operatives but were working for someone who was clearly female and mentioned some kind of ‘predictive’ powers. Whether these were arcane or mundane in nature was not clear. Unfortunately a peaceful solution could not be gained and the two had a shoot out which resulted in only getting a few of the weapons needed.

Vicente and Illari set up a meet with Natalia Constantin in Bucharest to get more weapons and Cal set up a deal with Fox to get body armor. While meeting with the eccentric and likely insane Natalia, they were able to negotiate the deal with her but Illari snapped under the pressure of some of her comments regarding ‘shooting down commercial planes’ something that sensitive to Illari’s past. Vicente’s quick thinking and negotiation skills managed to calm the situation without it escalating to violence but Illari was unable to continue, stepping outside as Vicente impressed the young arms dealer.

Things were certainly falling into place.

But for whom?

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Episode 17: I've Got a Semi

February 3rd, 2018 – February 6th, 2018

Fortunately for Cal Morrison, he had several contacts in the Bucharest area, one of which was the mysterious Fox Schillnger, an analyst with the CIA who was notorious for being a kook and a conspiracy theorist, but also for his sheer brilliance at seeing patterns and visions in the data that he had collected. Cal knew that if anyone would be able to make some sense of things, it would be Fox and since he was predisposed to believe in oddities, he was the perfect man with whom to meet.

Lou Mangiotti knew that Cal and Fox were close and therefore decided to use Fox as the handler for the mission that Cal and the team decided to take, namely that of apprehending the suspected terrorist, Haluk Ozturk, a man on the run and spotted in Bucharest. Since Ozturk was suspected to be proficient in making so-called dirty bombs, his apprehension and interrogation was a priority.

A few days after Cal’s meeting with Mangiotti, he, Wolfgang Fechtner and Franco Selvaggio went to the appointed location to meet up with Fox to get their briefing as well as allow Cal the opportunity to speak with his old friend om other matters. Meanwhile Luigi Cardellini and Vicente Rojas waited back at their secret location, working on securing and unloading the weapons cache they received from Natalia Constantin.

It did not take long for Fox to demonstrate his eccentric behavior or show his desire to discuss unusual or strange patterns. They began, however, by discussing the Ozturk situation. Fox explained that Ozturk was a terrorist on the run, having fled Istanbul and was currently linked up with a cell in Bucharest. This was the perfect opportunity to scoop him up and send him off to a black site interrogation location to see what he knew. The data that had been collected so far, showed his connections were nearby, and the cell was using a couple of blocks of abandoned tenements. The group had close to a dozen men at any given time and it was clear the group was nervous and interested in protecting Ozturk.

After the official briefing, Cal asked about other things going on in the city and hinted there was something bigger happening, widespread that included the terrorist investigations, Heal the Children, Bichi National Bank, and the London bombings around Christmas. He suggested that some of the activity was centralized to some of the Romanian Mafia clans in and around Bucharest, specifically the Mirga Clanuri as well as the Ruvari Szgany. Call asked Fox to check into the clans, ‘’off-books’ and report back when he could. Fox said that wouldn’t be a problem, since Mangiotti had pulled him off his usual assignment, Bichi Bank, and had compartmentalized everything in Bucharest Station for the past few months. Fox also volunteered another piece of data; Mangiotti had gotten an important visitor the other day, a deputy press secretary for Russian president Vikto Petrov. The press secretary, Svetlana Tovorsky, was known to the team as Franco had run into her at a Heal the Children event, in London, the night of the London Bombings around Christmas.

Concluding their meeting, they went back to their safe house and worked on their equipment, impressed at the level of quality Constantin had given them. In their spare time, they reviewed the files on Ozturk they had been given.

The following day while getting their equipment ready and again looking at the Ozturk assignment, Wolfgang had a call. It was unknown with caller ID and when he answered it was a voice that, while disguised, claimed to be Hopkins. Whereas Cal tried to trace the call, the skill Hopkins had was able to prevent himself from being located.

Hopkins related the following information:

  • Hopkins was alive but regretted the death of Samantha Anderson
  • Obviously, Hopkins was in grave danger so secrecy was a must
  • Hopkins trusted Wolfgang and the team with the infamous Dracula Dossier
  • Bucharest was currently crawling with Edom agents
  • Edom had recently employed the notorious Hamilton Hoyt and his organization The Union to likely try and track down the team

However, when Wolfgang put Hopkins on speaker and Franco was able to hear, there was something that caught his attention – the fact that Hopkins used the word ‘only’ an excessive amount, and even in some odd places. He then recalled that when he first read the Hopkins Note, there was something similar. When Hopkins disconnected the call, he mentioned this to the others and they realized it was likely some kind of clue. It was at this point that Cal and Franco began pouring over everything they could and Wolfgang and Vicente went out to the location to observe the activities of the terrorist cell with which Ozturk was currently connected.

The observations that they made seemed to confirm much of what the CIA field analyst’s report had said – the group was nervous, more so at night and they seldom ventured forth. However, they suspected that capturing one of their errand boys and replacing him with a disguised member of their own group would be key in gaining access to the apartments. But before they could relay this information, Vicente noticed a truck pull up and several men get out. Upon observing the activities from across the street, Vicente not only noticed a strange robed figure in the apartments but one of the men who arrived on the scene was none other than Alfanso Gomez, a bitter enemy of his from his days in the narcotics trafficking rings back in Columbia. Gomez was a member of FARC and a highly dangerous individual. His presence in Bucharest was astonishing and it took everything he had from opening fire on this brutal individual who was responsible for the deaths of so many innocents. Wolfgang, noticing the strange behavior from Vicente, immediately called in the others to get to their location as things could go poorly.

By the time the others had arrived, Gomez’s business with the terrorists was over and he had left but they decided they would use this turn of events to act quickly against Ozturk and change the plan Mangiotti had put forth since Cal wanted Ozturk for himself, to conduct his own interrogation before – or instead of – turning him over to Mangiotti.

Early the next day, they executed their plan, replacing one of the errand runners with Franco and positioning the others to the roof to come in and take Ozturk. However, the plan held until the mysterious robed person, revealed later as a woman, noticed the inconsistency with Franco. As she attacked Franco and alerted the others in her cell, Vicente, Wolfgang and Cal took action. It seemed that through the chatter, they were suggesting that Ozturk flee to their garage and since Cal had done extensive research into the location, he knew exactly where they were headed.

Franco, Wolfgang and Vicente were able to take out the robed assassin but not before she had dealt a crippling blow to Franco. Luigi Cardellini approached the empty street with his van but when Cal arrived at the garage, he noticed two men with submachine guns waiting and a semi-truck revved up, likely with Ozturk in the back, trying to make their escape. As the semi rolled out, Cal took out one of the gunmen but the other prevented him from stopping the truck. Luigi picked him up in the van and as the semi rolled past the others, Wolfgang jumped on board, but Franco and Vicente quickly got into the van to give chase to the semi. However, as the van followed through the streets of Bucharest, the back of the semi opened and several gunmen, including Ozturk, were in the back, trying to gun down Luigi, driving the van.

As the semi rolled through the streets of Bucharest with insane reckless speed, Luigi and the others followed closely, taking out the two gun men in the back. However, Cal got a call from Mangiotti, furious that the plan had gone awry and demanded to know where Cal was and that their team should pull out. Cal hung up on him and within a few blocks CIA agents were also apart of the chase in their own sedan. It is when the CIA attempted to take out Luigi’s tires that Cal became furious, suspecting they were pawns the whole time.

Wolfgang saw that they were getting close to the docks and suspected Ozturk was trying to make his escape via speedboat. He used a grenade to blow the connection between the cab of the truck and the trailer. As the explosion detonated, the police were in hot pursuit but Cal had taken out the CIA vehicle that was on their tail as well. As the police tried to close in on the semi, the driver abandoned and Wolfgang took over, aiming the truck for the icy river, knowing that the cold February air was not going to be his ally.

Meanwhile, in the confusion, the team picked up a stunned Ozturk, turning a stun gun on him and loading him in the van. They his in a parking garage, switched vehicles and Franco made connections with someone he knew in the area, Levi, a street girl and protest organizer who was well connected in the underground movements in eastern Europe. Franco was badly hurt, the team had prisoners and they needed a place to hide. Levi was the best option for the time being.

Meanwhile, Wolfgang located the speedboat that Ozturk was likely heading towards, and climbed aboard, getting rid of the lone agent and sped off, determined to meet up with the team later. But first, he needed safety and needed to get warm as the cold water and February temperatures were going to quickly be lethal. So he went to the club that Marika Skinsky frequented, hoping to find allies there.

It was evident that Levi would likely be uncomfortable with the idea of torture, so despite how hurt Franco was, he took her on a walk, often limping along as they talked. This left Luigi, Cal and Vicente alone with Ozturk and a handful of questions.

Astonishingly, Ozturk revealed that whereas he did have some experience with bombs, he was hardly the ‘expert’ Mangiotti suggested he was, and had virtually no experience with dirty bombs – clearly the jacket on Ozturk had been altered, making him out to be a much more dangerous person than he actually was. He mentioned that his prior cell, in Istanbul, was attacked by a lone, demonic figure, late one night that slaughtered everyone in a bloody and ruthless fashion with Ozturk as the only survivor, escaping while the others were slaughtered. Ozturk had been on the run for several weeks and he was convinced that this evil creature was following him from city to city. He explained that through his connections, he had been in touch with representatives of one Omar Shakti, who gave him a code to pass on to someone in Rome, an individual named Javed Al-Pari.

When the team analyzed the code, they instantly recognized it was co-ordinates and Cal quickly discovered that they were the co-ordinates for a location in Vatican City, the Teutonic Cemetery. However, Ozturk had no idea that these codes were for a location and had likely never even heard of the Tuetonic Cemetery.

Satisfied they had gotten what they could out of Ozturk, they were still unsure what to do with him for the time being. On one hand, this was a valuable prize, as Mangiotti clearly wanted him but on the other hand, there was some demonic creature relentlessly chasing after him through eastern Europe. Would they be prepared to defend him from this creature or was it better to cut their losses and go? Or was it better to hand him over to Mangiotti, with whom Cal was still angry over what had happened.

The group turned to the code that Franco seemed to pick up when talking to Hopkins. There was something about the word ‘only’ that stuck out. Trying to figure out which terms or sentences came after the word was a dead end but then Cal remembered the strange turn of phrase that individuals of Indian decent used. They tended, when translating into English, peppered the conversation with ‘only’ much as Hopkins has done. So was it that Hopkins was from India or perhaps someone who had grown up in India? This was certainly an interesting development as the chasm opened wider for the clues of the Dracula Dossier.

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Episode 16: Old Friends

January 30th, 2018 – February 2nd, 2018

After leaving the meet up with Natalia Constantin and getting hold of some desperately needed equipment from the eccentric arms dealer, the team went into Bucharest, proper, to get set up at a mid range hotel downtown. Seeing as they may be soon dealing with the Mirga Clanuri and the Ruvari Szgany, they wanted to stay as far away from their spheres of influence as possible. Since the two groups were fairly dominant in the west side and east side of town, the central area seemed much safer for their purposes.

Cal Morrison set up a meet, through back channels, with the current Chief of Station in Bucharest, Lou Mangiotti. Cal and Lou had both been field agents some time ago and with Lou recently getting the run of all of Bucharest for the CIA, he was a well connected man who may know the lay of the land in Bucharest. However, Wolfgang Fechtner had more pressing interests, such as meeting up with his friend and romantic interest, Marika Skinsky.

Skinsky ran with a very tough crowd, as was the life of any smuggler in this area. But Wolfgang knew exactly where to find her. She would be set up close with some of the southern gangs, near the river, likely at one of several clubs that the gangs maintained. Since Wolfgang needed several things, among them access to some new vehicles, he, Cal and Illari Vassyl decided to hunt her down and pay her a visit. Franco Selvaggio stayed at the hotel to discuss things with Luigi Cardellini and Vicente Rojas again patrolled the area, keeping watch over any possible danger.

The bar they soon found themselves at was more of a private boating club, on the river. Despite the dead of winter conditions, the Dambovita River saw some activity with some boats in the river, some of them jet skis, attesting to the insane nature of some of the locals. Entering the club, they saw all manner of shady characters around the area, and Wolfgang immediately recognized Marika Skinsky across the room, involved in a high stakes card game with some of the more notorious personalities, among them, local boss Boris Borgo.

Upon taking a break in the card game, Marika came over to Wolfgang and embraced him, indicating to Cal and Illari that the two were just more than old friends, as there was a clear romantic interest there. Ass the two talked, negotiating some kind of business arrangement with getting some clean vehicles, Cal scanned the area and did pick up one individual in the club that did not seem to belong (later identified as a German BND agent).

Instead of a straight up sale, Marika had an interesting proposal for Wolfgang: a jet ski race along the icy river would determine whether or not she would get the vehicles free of charge or whether he would pay double. The offer was too tempting to pass up and within a half hour, the two were suiting up and heading down to the club’s docks with the entire bar in an uproar of excitement. Even Cal and Illari put down some bets, taking the underdog, Wolfgang.

The race, an exciting ballet of speed and agility through the icy waters, almost saw both vehicles overheat, but in the end it was Marika who came out ahead, and Wolfgang was forced to pay up. However, his grace in losing made the difference as the club seemed to embrace the good nature of the loser and the place erupted into song and dance with heavy, heavy drinking.

Marika made plans to get the vehicles and in a more relaxed setting mentioned that the two main rival clans were extremely preoccupied as of late. Obviously, the two groups had connections with drug trafficker, Cemal Gusa, the Turkish drug dealer, but she suggested that there was likely something deeper going on that was getting their attention. Further, she mentioned rumors of the human trafficker, Vasile Chitul and how he may have recently made contact with an influential individual who would give him better access to victims that he could ship around. This was, apparently, big news to Marika and some of the locals. Meanwhile, Cal discovered that if they wanted to make some good contacts in the area, Borgo was always looking for jobs to be done, mostly small time schemes and plans that would make them some much needed money.

As the group left the club, with Marika promising to come by Wolfgang’s hotel later to not only drop off the keys but also to stay for something more romantic, Wolfgang got a call from his contact in London, Charles Asante, the jeweler and pawnbroker. Apparently, Mr. Asante stated that someone recently came in looking to appraise an item very similar to the Hillingham Brooch. Wolfgang stated he would likely be back in a few weeks but in the meantime, Asante should purchase the item and keep it safe. Later when Cal tried to find CCTV footage in London, the effort proved less effective than he would have liked. Perhaps it was because the individual in question could not be seen on cameras . . .

While Cal worked on some of his projects involving his weapons and technology, Illari began working through the Dracula Dossier, looking for references to Bucharest or the general area. Perhaps he was hoping to find clues or context for some of the investigations they had going. Among some of the clues he uncovered were:

  • References to Pitesti Prison
  • A reference to someone named ‘Skinsky’
  • Ancient connections between Dracula and Ruvari Szgany
  • References in the annotations to the fact that one of the annotators suspected Heal the Children, the charity, was possibly a front
  • The possibility of drug companies having massive sales in blood thinners to suspect parties
  • The mind control powers of Dracula and his minions

It was at this point that Illari immediately went to Cal’s room to share these horrific revelations . . .

The following morning Wolfgang spent the day working on the van that Marika supplied to the team, enhancing the engine to make it much faster. But it was Cal who made it across town to a bridge where he met up with Lou Mangiotti. The clandestine meeting was in a small station house on the bridge, overlooking the Dambovita River.

Cal reconnected with the Chief of Station and congratulated him on his recent promotion. As the two talked, Cal seemed to detect an air from Lou that suggested that Lou was hiding something and holding back. Certainly, he was cordial and helpful, offering the support of the CIA to Cal’s operation in Bucharest, but warned him that he was still considered ‘outside’ the organization. Certainly, Eloise Buckley reinstated him, but it was still secretive. Whereas Lou Mangiotti was aware of Cal’s status, many of his operatives in the field and in the office may not be. So any support Lou would provide had to be in the shadows.

Mangiotti reiterated that the are over which he had control was running well and he did not want anything to jeopardize that. He also mentioned that Buckley had put out the order to have agents detain Franco Selvaggio to be brought back to London in order to be ‘educated’ into proper CIA protocol. Mangiotti’s recent visit from Tyler Gold, one of Buckley’s top operatives, was clearly intended to check up on his operation as well as pass on some of her details and instructions regarding Selvaggio. But Mangiotti also recognized the need for Cal and his team for supplies and resources. Mangiotti was willing to help out with this if the team was willing to do a couple of jobs; such as extracting an agent from a dangerous operation, locally, as well as conduct a kidnapping of a terrorist inserted into a cell of criminals. The terrorist needed to be handed over to one of their black sites, likely Adam Cylinksi, another older associate of Cal’s. Further, if they wanted to make so real money, he had someone else who was in need of some work – some darker projects that would pay well.

By the conclusion of the meeting, it was clear that Mangiotti wanted to meet with the whole team, as he had seen their Vienna antics from a few days ago on a tape he was given. He was especially interested in Franco as well as Wolfgang Fechtner. Even though Mangiotti stated he would hide his Franco from his agents and prevent Franco from being detained and sent back to London, Cal was mistrustful of the situation. Cal suggested that Mangiotti send an agent to provide the dossier of the terrorist and Cal would lead the operation to apprehend the individual.

Cal was nervous about the situation but it was a step in the right direction to gathering allies and resources.

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Episode 15: High Stakes

January 23rd, 2018 – January 27th, 2018

The plan was simple. Get into the Casino Wein in Vienna and make contact with the criminals who had kidnapped Luigi Cardellini and exchange the forged Dracula Dossier for Cardellini. Whatever the kidnappers had planned, they were keeping their plan tight.

Ilari Vassyl and Vicente Rojas were positioned in a hotel across the street from the casino while Cal Morrison awaited in their white van outside, monitoring activity. Franco Selvaggio would go inside and Wolfgang Fechtner would act as backup. Almost immediately, Cal noticed another van pull up which had all the trappings of an Edom team. Cal was unclear what Edom was doing here or whether or not they were running the operation. But Cal had one asset in play that nobody else was even aware of: he had connections in the casino. The casino manager owed him and the CIA and he used this opportunity to call in that favor. A well-placed, trained asset was positioning herself inside the casino with training in electronic surveillance and tradecraft, awaiting further instructions.

As wandered the casino, wearing the special clothes he was told to wear, he was eventually approached by a mysterious figure who invited him upstairs for ‘high stakes’ games. The mysterious figure, later identified as Jakub Pekar, led Franco to the elevator as Wolfgang watched the activities transpire. Pekar had the elevator guard take them to the top of the casino where only the highest of rollers operated and the amount of money won or lost was legendary. Fortunately, this was exactly where Cal had his asset positioned.

Arriving upstairs, Franco was brought to a shadowy back room with a dealer and several other individuals who may or may not have been playing cards. Whereas many of the figures in the room seemed nefarious and ‘connected,’ there were several that stood out. The man at the head of the table introduced himself as Hamilton Hoyt, a former CIA operative who had gone rogue, forming his own criminal intelligence network, The Union, as well as his bodyguard Athena Mykanos. But most shocking was the appearance of Elizabeth Cavanaugh, someone who was once close to Franco but clear was the one who had sold him out and compromised Luigi Cardellini. However, Elizabeth also told him that she had tried to warn him back in London when they met at the Hooker’s Boot that she wanted him in on a project but he rebuffed her. Perhaps next time he would take her more seriously.

The negotiations were tense and during the discussion, Franco asked for a sign of good faith from the ruthless Hoyt. It was at that point that she showed a laptop with a video feed of a man tied to a chair and a bag over his head. A woman (later identified as Tekla Lueschech) stood guard over him. It was at this point that Cal’s gamble paid off – the card dealer in the room, on Cal’s payroll, fed the feed to Cal out in the van. Cal was then able to begin to trace the location of the video which was a warehouse across town. He immediately dispatched Ilari and Vicente to the location to release the man.

Back in the high stakes room, Hoyt demanded to know where the Dracula Dossier was and Elizabeth Cavanaugh also tried to push, a little more softly. To prove his point, Hoyt made a call to have one of Luigi’s fingers removed. This prompted Franco to alert Wolfgang, who had the forged Dracula Dossier to come up to the high stakes room.

After Wolfgang arrived and showed them the Dracula Dossier – which nobody in the room noticed was a forgery – it was then that Hoyt invited everyone to an elevator and took them to the basement where they encountered a man tied to a chair, with a bag over his head, guarded by a gunman.

Meanwhile, across town, Vicente and Illari found the warehouse where the feed was coming from where they assumed Luigi was being kept. Breaching the warehouse, they quickly encountered the guard, Lueschech. After shooting Vicente, Illari jumped in and fought with the brutal assailant, giving Vicente enough time to move through the warehouse and find Luigi. Vicente removed the hood and untied him and then they all made their escape while Lueschech was stunned under a create.

Back at the casino, Hoyt removed the hood from Luigi (a second Luigi?) and Franco seemed grateful even though Luigi seemed to be missing a finger. Hoyt then released them through a basement exit. Outside, Cal saw the presumed Edom van on the move as he got the call from Vicente that Luigi was safe. When Cal called Franco and discovered that they, also, had Luigi, Cal held off his panic and subtly informed Franco of the problem.

Cal coordinated the extraction of Franco, Wolfgang and Luigi and pulled up with the van, avoiding the Edom team. Wolfgang took over driving duties as they began to navigate the tight streets, avoiding the Edom van. But it was not long before they noticed they were also being tracked by one of Hoyt’s agents, Mykanos, trying to find them with her sportscar. Likely Hoyt had been alerted to the liberation of the other Luigi across town.

The cat and mouse pursuit that Mykanos gave them was stressful as Wolfgang realized he was dealing with someone his equal or better. However, just as she was able to intercept him and the team, Wolfgang changed tactics and slammed into her car, putting her off balance. But it was at this point that the Luigi in the van, dropped his ‘disguise,’ as he revealed himself to be a ravenous vampire with fangs. What occurred next was purely nightmarish.

At a breakneck speed with reckless abandon, Wolfgang drove the van down the streets of Vienna, quickly trying to evade not only Mykanos, but also the Vienna police. Of course, this was made all the more difficult as the vampire in the back of the van ravenously attacked Cal and Franco, while taking swipes at Wolfgang. The gunfire inside the van as well as the shots that were taken by Mykanos in pursuit made it a miracle that they were not killed. Of course, when Vicente, Illari and the real Luigi came onto the scene firing from their own car, the entire area was utter chaos. Mykanos lost control of her vehicle and Vicente did, as well, allowing Wolfgang the room to smash into the police but also slide the van with such force that the vampire was tossed from the back. Of course, by this point the cars were destroyed, they were taking on heat and needed to go underground. They quickly made their way to a safehouse that Wolfgang recalled from several years ago and figured they would be safe for a day or two.

They rested, regrouped and talked it out. Luigi demanded answers of what was going on and Franco let him in on details – more details than Cal was likely comfortable with. It was Luigi that then revealed that he had been lured by Elizabeth Cavanaugh and turned over to Hamilton Hoyt’s organization, The Union. Of course, since this was the first that Cal was hearing of Hoyt’s involvement, this raised concerns, as Cal and Hoyt had a shared past in the CIA. If Hoyt and The Union was involved, this certainly raised the stakes of what was going on. The good news was that Luigi was committed to throwing his support behind the operation. Whereas he may or may not have believed the strange stories of Vampires and other strange paranormal activity, he knew something was going on and wanted to help. A brief once over, told Cal that Luigi was competent and Franco reinforced the idea that Luigi had experience in the world of crime and espionage.

Monitoring the news and the various police bands, Interpol and other local authorities were on the lookout for Wolfgang as well as Franco and Luigi. Someone behind the scenes was pushing their faces and identities. When Cal did a back trace to see who or what was responsible, he found that it was someone back in London, likely GCHQ. His first thought was it was Lord Godalming. Nevertheless, Cal tried to push back and lower the trouble they were facing, by trying to bury the alerts pushed upon them by unknown forces.

The group then decided they had to go to Bucharest and meet up with Natalia Constantin, as she had a cache of supplies and weapons for them set up by Radu Leutner. Constantin’s reputation was nefarious and that she was likely crazy but she was an excellent connection for arms and equipment. The trip was uneventful but upon getting to the rough neighborhood outside of Bucharest where they were to meet Constantin, they entered the strip club where she was waiting.

Getting inside and approaching Constantin, she was already high on Vint, her drug of choice, shooting dice with her underlings. It was clear she had a solid relationship with the staff at the club and was generous with her money. She attempted to shake Cal down for a higher rate but didn’t push it when he endeared himself to her, especially when he offered her more Vint, especially higher quality than she had been taking. After making pleasantries with her and the promise of going down to Bucharest for a far more wild time, she took them outside, opened her rig on the side of the road and handed off their crates, in full view of anyone who wanted to see, demonstrating she seemed to work without fear of anyone at all.

With their equipment in hand, they now planned to work more of the Bucharest angle as there were numerous leads to follow up on.

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Episode 14: From the Mouths of Babes

January 19th, 2018 – January 22nd, 2018

Franco Selvaggo awoke after a night of passion with Tabitha Holmwood, to see her getting dressed, preparing to leave for the day. Before leaving, she bent down to caress him, tenderly, and explained that whatever trouble she had gotten herself into, she felt that only Franco could help her. Otherwise the men she was dealing with would kill her – men working with Cemal Gusal She departed, quietly pleading for him to make sure she would be safe.

Meanwhile, Ilari Vasyl spent the day researching more of the Dracula Dossier, attempting to find any links in the book with Munich. They had already investigated the Dead House and before they left wanted to ensure that they had discovered and investigated any other leads. Two such leads did transpire. First, Dracula references the Old Pinakothek museum and second, Dolingen Tomb. Both locations could be worth checking out as it was increasingly likely that the Countess Margo Dolinz they were familiar with in London, was one in the same with Countess Dolingen of the novel.

Taking the lead, Wolfgang Fechtner spent the morning with Cal Morrison, tracking the money associated with Countess Dolinz as well as researching the lineage of the Dolingen fortune. It was discovered that the money from the Dolingen fortune went to become invested in various banks throughout Europe, many of these banks eventually consumed by the group that would form Bichi National Bank, an organization of which Countess Dolinz currently sat upon the board.

It was at this point that the team decided to investigate Dolingen Tomb in Munich. Perhaps it had secrets to reveal.

Franco then received a phone call on one of his seldom used burner phones. The mysterious voice was clear in specific instructions. The voice on the phone claimed to have Luigi Cardellini, a lost friend of Franco’s (and his brother-in law). The mysterious voice on the phone insisted that Franco had ‘the text’ (obviously meaning the Dracula Dossier). In order to get Luigi’s safe return, Franco was to come to Vienna in two days’ time and come to the Casino Wein, wearing a specific cut of clothing so he could be recognized. Without hesitation, Wolfgang began making a forgery of the Dracula Dossier, hoping his expertise in occult books would be able to make a good enough fake, at least to be able to fool the kidnappers. Franco, distraught, needed something to pass the time.

It was then that the group made their way to the cemetery where Dolingen Tomb was located. Wolfgang, however, stayed behind, destroying copies of Dracula in order to create his forgery, as they were under serious time constraints.

At the cemetery, Cal Morrison discovered more surveillance cameras, similar to the ones near Hillingham House, finding that the feed went back to BND headquarters. Ilari Vasyl and Vicente Rojas scoped the rest of the area out before Franco breached the mausoleum where the countess supposedly was kept. Of course, everyone noticed the inscription, in Russian, reading The Dead Travel Fast.

Eventually, they all discovered the tomb empty but not without secrets. A secret door was discovered in the sarcophagus that lead to a cavern far below the earth. The team discovered that there was a small network of tunnels and even what appeared to be furniture in some of the deeper caves. But they were shocked to discover a vampiric entity, taking the form of a young boy, as well as his Ghoul servants.

A major altercation broke out between the ghouls and the vampire, later identifying himself as Berthold Dolingen. The team managed to destroy the ghouls and force Berthold to flee but not before Berthold was able to bite deeply into Ilari’s neck. The wound was horrific and one of the worst ones they had seen since starting the investigation. For the vampire child’s fang-filled mouth was just as potent as any weapon they had yet encountered.

Once Ilari was brought back to the hotel, they discovered that the wound was worsening and experimenting with rubbing Vanderpool Garlic on the wound resulted in intense pain on Ilari’s part. Ilari suddenly knew he was entering the first stages of the disease of vampirism. Once Franco found this out, the group was on the verge of panic. However, Franco was able to recall an ally he knew in the area, Magda Paz.

Magda had extensive experience in matters best described as ‘the occult’ as well as her background placing her as something of a field medic. Franco had long dismissed her as a pretty face and a crackpot but now, based upon everything he had dealt with in the past few weeks, he had a new found respect for the woman.

Upon arriving, the mysterious Ms. Paz looked at Ilari and immediately began putting up what seemed like supernatural barriers and protections but handed Vicente a wooden stake, indicating that it could ‘come to this.’ Ms. Paz did what she could but quickly determined she needed further assistance, contacting someone else she knew. After a few hours, she ally arrived, and much to the surprise of the rest of the team, they came to face to face with Dr. Oskar Beaufort, the mysterious medical researcher they met in connection with the Caldwell Foundation.

Dr. Beaufort sent Franco to a local hospital to steal a variety of medical devices and other equipment he needed. However, Dr. Beaufort seemed to view Ilari’s condition with a mixture of fascination and horror, taking extensive notes, perhaps for his own research. While Ilari gained the benefit of Dr. Beaufort’s work and Franco’s stolen labors, Cal wanted a few words with Dr. Beaufort.

The two spoke at lengths, with Dr. Beaufort being very tight about his research but suggested that there was some help they may be able to provide to one another. Dr. Beaufort needed some ‘field work’ done and in return would consider providing some chemicals that would be of value to Cal and the team. As a sign of good faith, he handed Cal some of of his Experimental Serum, or at least a strain of it. He suggested that this contained some important healing properties that would act as an emergency in the field to restore lost vitality. However, Dr. Beaufort warned that it had some side effects that would be magnified by prolonged exposure to it. But if the team was willing to conduct some clandestine work for him, he could provide more. He would be in touch. He and Ms. Paz spoke privately before he left but once Ilari was back on track to restored health, he departed to parts unknown.

Before Ms. Paz left, she provided Franco with a necklace that she claimed would give limited protection to whomever wore it, defending them from further vampire bites. However, she cautioned that the necklace was weakened and would only defend from a few limited attacks.

With that, she left, leaving the team to let Ilari heal. However, this was very limited time as they had to make the trip to Vienna and hope that Wolfgang’s forgery would be able to convince the kidnappers to exchange it for Luigi Cardellini whose life was clearly in jeopardy.

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Episode 13: The Dirt on Tabitha

January 11th, 2018 – January 18th, 2018

Flashback
Several years ago . . .

As Ilari Vasyl delivered another lost girl to the Munich flat of Dr. Ilsa Sabine, they strengthened their bond for the good fight against human trafficking. Sabine informed Vasyl of the growing operation of Vasile Chitul, and just how many women he had under his control. She also informed Vasyl that there was another man, a far more violent man, that Vasyl should connect with – Vicente Rojas – who was capable of more direct action in the liberation of these lost girls. Sabine reassured Vasyl that she would always have an open door for him and whomever needed saving.

End Flashback

Wolfgang Fechtner noticed the BND tail outside the Munich hotel where the team was staying. In order to get any business done, they would have to shake it, so Fechtner led the two men on a slow trail through the city, allowing Franco Selvaggio, Ilari Vasyl and Vicente Rojas to head to the Munich nightclub where Tabitha Holmwood would surely be, in an attempt to make contact with her. Cal Morrison waited back at the hotel to keep an eye on things there.

Upon arriving at the nightclub, Franco used his charm and connections to surround themselves with party girls and blend in with the scenery. He and Vasyl noticed Tabitha, as well as her associate, Ginger Smythe, upstairs on the second floor, looking nervous and anxious. It was then that they spotted another figure, signaling her through the crowd, a man later identified as Zoltan Nemet, the number two man in the Cemal Gusa drug cartel. Outside, Viciente noticed a limo circling the area, likely Nemet’s ride.

When it was evident that Nemet was ushering Tabitha and Ginger out the door, Vicente sprung into action, stealing a parked car which the team could use to follow the limo. As predicted, Nemet, Ginger and Tabitha emerged from the club and got into the limo, with Franco and Ilari following close behind.

While the group followed the limo, Fechtner continued to lead his BND tail on a tour through Munich, keeping them away from the others. As the other investigators closed in, secretly, on the limo, they discovered it had a destination outside of town at a fussball center, well past midnight. Obviously, no fussball was going on at that time of night.

Fechtner returned to the hotel and shortly after getting back, the tail sped off, with Fechtner quickly informing the others that the tail was likely heading towards them and they may have a small window of opportunity.

Ilari watched outside as the group entered and Franco and Vicente went inside, through a back entrance. While Tabitha, Ginger and Zoltan went in, they went to the indoor field and met up with Cemal Gusa as well as some of rough looking underlings. At their feet were numerous shopping bags with high end items. A brief argument broke out with Cemal threatening Tabitha. Franco managed to get into the air ducts and observe overhead. He overheard Cemal tell Tabitha that there would be a new contact in London to make the pick up and when she returned there could be a slightly different order of things as complications in London made things difficult for the time being. Based upon Tabitha’s attitude and body language, she was clearly reluctant to go through with this but it was also obvious she had done this several times before.

The group broke up, noticing the BND tail had arrived but followed nobody when they left. Vicente, Franco and Ilari followed Cemal and his men to a condo outside of town where some kind of party was just getting started. Noting the address, they decided they could return later and departed back to the hotel.

The following day, Wolfgang contacts Johan Schmidt for a meet while Franco contacts Tabitha for a dinner date at his hotel. When Schmidt arrived to discuss matters with Wolfgang, Wolfgang used their past relationship to drag intel out of his former mentor. Johan explained that Cemal and his operation were given a wide berth in Germany, with BND agents told to stay away. Cemal’s heroin and drug connections were in Afghanistan but there was another facet to the operation. Using Cemal’s drug connections, figures in the Ruvari Szgany and their rivals, the Mirga Clanuri (both part of the Romanian Mafia) had been supplying Cemal with small samples of Transylvanian soil (something Wolfgang knew Johan was smuggling years ago). Whereas Johan may or may not have known the true nature or need for the soil, whatever it was, he was getting a cut of the profits, building up and padding the ‘Johan Schmidt Retirement Fund.’

Further, when Wolfgang showed Johan the Hillingham Brooch, Johan took it and stated that there was a buy in Vienna who was looking for this exact type of thing. Johan mentioned the name Henri Valant, a buyer for certain anonymous figures who were always looking for unusual and rare items and there was something about this brooch that Johan knew would catch Valant’s attention.

Meanwhile, Ilari decided to analyze the blood taken from the body at the Munich Dead House. Ilari discovered that the traces of blood contained some kind of odd properties. Consulting his own scientific knowledge as well as the Cache of Books, there was some information to be gained. This homeopathic distillation was some kind of blood-based property that would:

  • Allow greater strength to the subject
  • Would only last until the user was next exposed to direct sunlight
  • Instill the high possibility that the subject would gain an addictive disorder
  • The subject would have less ability to resist the call of Vampires.

Franco spent the afternoon at one of Munich’s fine exotic dancing establishments, meeting up with one of his mentors, Eddie Muskva. They discussed the smuggling operation as well as the different ways Tabitha could be seduced. Strangely, Franco noticed part of the club was taken up by Cemal Gusa and his gang, none of which seemed to take notice of Franco or Eddie.

Ilari and Vicente visit Dr. Ilsa Sabine. They make arrangements for her to take custody of Billie Harker and move her, temporarily, to Spain. They figured that Billie was an important part of the story somehow and needed her to remain protected, something they felt was difficult to do in Munich. They pulled strings with Dr. Sabine and managed to use her pipeline (akin to an Underground Railroad) to move Billie to a few safehouses until she managed to get to a seaside resort town in Spain. Later, the team would connect up with her.

That evening when Tabitha came to Franco’s hotel, it was clear that there was a sexual tension in the air. Franco was a gentleman, show showed his knowledge of fine food and champagne and after bedding Tabitha, he casually asked about her relationship with Cemal and the smuggling operation. Uncertain whether Franco was an agent or member of the police (or a member of a rival gang), the trust she felt in him was enough for her to unload her many problems and fears regarding Cemal and the smuggling operation. She revealed that she was, in fact, smuggling soil to London but had smuggling other things in the past, such as heroin. Whereas she was not overly concerned about the soil, since it was hardly illegal, she assumed it was some kind of special soil to grow more illicit drugs. She was more concerned about the danger Cemal poised as she knew she would eventually be eliminated by him if she wasn’t careful. Without getting into how she found herself in this situation and what she must have done to cross the path of someone like Cemal, she felt safe with Franco and fell asleep in his arms, until the new day arose.

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Episode 12: The House that Death Built

January 8th, 2018 – January 9th, 2018

Still laying low in Munich, the team of investigators continued their plans. Munich, after all, had a large number of clues to follow up on. Franco Selvaggio continued his undercover work by getting to know some of the locals, while Cal Morrison, Wolfgang Fechtner and Ilari Vasyl decided to set up an appointment with Radu Leutner, director of sales for arms manufacturer, Leutner Fabrichen. While they put together their cover story, Vicente Rojas monitored the area to ensure there was no clear danger.

The cover story they created was that Cal was an attache for the Angolan prince and government in exile, who needed weapons to arm revolutionaries to defend themselves from a neighboring dictator who had overrun the country. Wolfgang created the passports and Cal made accurate back stories with an electronic trail. With them, they brought a briefcase full of cash to make the deal seem more realistic in hopes of getting Leutner to reveal some information about the mysterious weapons they had encountered weeks ago at Hillingham House.

Arriving at Leutner Fabrichen, Ilari took notice of a strange figure watching them. In order to keep his cover, he had to stay away and not follow up on his suspicions.

The offices of Leutner Fabrichen in Munich were impressive. State of the art security and opulent surroundings, intended to show prospective customers the power and authority of the Bulgarian arms dealer, made for a good impression. Meeting with Mr. Leutner at the top floor in the executive offices, they began negotiating over the possible arms sale while Cal used every ounce of diplomatic skills to gain Leutner’s confidence as well as frighten him into a better position. As trust or fear began to overtake Leutner, he did mention that he had ‘friends’ who were in the position to act as mercenaries for the exiled prince, specifically mentioning the Paladin Group and also mentioned that he had allies in the community who were currently supplying the exiled prince’s rival, the neighboring dictator.

At some point in the conversation, Wolfgang showed the mysterious handgun to Leutner. The piece, recovered at Hillingham House and without any serial numbers, was clearly of Leutner Fabrichen design. Upon seeing the weapon, Leutner became almost terrified, stating that the deal that was made by his company to the shadowy organization who wanted them was not made by him, suggesting that it was his father who had made that deal. They surmised, based upon his description, that the shadowy organization was none other than Edom and that their lead negotiator was an intimidating woman, a supposed furniture buyer. The investigators immediately drew a connection between Vendella French, a furniture buyer, meeting with Countess Margo Dolinz, and the current individual Leutner was referencing. French, clearly an Edom operative had bought the weapons and was also meeting with Countess Dolinz.

The negotiations concluded with Leutner agreeing to help, offering Cal his personal contact information and the agreement to arm him with some weapons and ammunition with unusual specifications. However, the catch was that they had to go through an intermediary, an arms dealer in Romania named Natalia Constantin. The shipment would be ready in two weeks’ time.

Returning to their hotel outside of Munich, Cal got a call from Gloriana Ambry, his girlfriend, who had been traveling in France. Gently inquiring where he was and how long he would be (she was aware of his connection with ‘the Agency’), she also mentioned that Agent Tyler Gold had been looking for him and had stopped by. She also asked whether some flowers that had just arrived were from him, somewhat surprised when they were not and had no indication of who they were from.

Next, the investigative team decided to go to the Dead House as there were several connections that had come up with the location, including one from the text Dracula (where Jonathan Harker had first appeared) as well as a connection to famed assassin Victoria Cavanaugh.

Arriving, the Dead House was located in a dark alley and a nondescript location. As Wolfgang and Vicente distracted the lone staff member over his love of the occult and horror films, Ilari crept to the back, seeing the corpses laid out and seeing a large metal door that had several redundant security measures – an electronic lock as well as a key lock. Ilari also saw a corpse that had been set aside for destruction, an assignment from a ‘Dr. Drawes,’ a name they had seen before, in connection with the covert location in Scotland. Ilari came back out and suggested that they return that evening and see what was inside that room.

Meanwhile, as Cal stayed in the van, he noticed a mysterious figure coming down the ally, towards the Dead House. Further, he saw an Axel Logistics van in the area as well. Something was about to happen!

Contacting the group inside, they came out of the Dead House and managed to intercept the person before, what was assumed to be a kidnapping, took place. As soon as they secured her, the Axel Logistics van sped off. Quickly, the individual revealed herself as Billie Harker, a name that raised red flags due to her connection with Jonathan Harker (and strangely, the Dead House). In their escape, Billie showed an amazing amount of grace under pressure and physical skills that made her more than just a damsel in distress.

Getting as far away from the Dead House as possible, they took Billie to a biergarten where they could interview her in a more relaxed setting. She explained that she was a law school student in London on winter break. But for several weeks she had some dreams of not only the Munich Dead House but also of Ilari. She kept seeing his face and something in her dreams drew her to Munich and to him, but they were dreams she could not understand. When asked about her knowledge of Dracula, as a book, she, of course, knew it but her only exposure was the film starring Gary Oldman and Winona Ryder. When Cal looked into her ancestry, he discovered she was the great-great granddaughter of Jonathan and Mina Harker. She, had no idea about any of this at all.

Realizing they were sitting on top of an interesting asset, they decided they needed to protect her. Wolfgang activated a deep cover agent he knew, Daniela Vogel, a BND agent posing as an actress in Munich. Leaving Billie with her, for the time being, they continued their investigation of the Dead House.

That evening, they broke into the Dead House, bypassing the security and making their way to the strange room Ilari had uncovered. After getting past electronic security and the key lock, they opened the door, discovering, to their shock and horror, a Red Room, within. This was evidently some kind of safehouse for Vampires or even Dracula, himself.

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Episode 11: Dr. Vanderpool

January 3rd, 2018 – January 6th, 2018

After staying with Marion Moore few a few days, celebrating New Year’s Eve in Somerset, the investigative team decided to get out of the U.K. and to the continent. They mapped out a few locations and discussed a few theories as to what to do next. They decided that Amsterdam would be the first best choice, followed by Munich.

The plan was to see if they could somehow get a hold of Vanderpool Garlic, something they suspected would be a tremendous weapon against the vampire conspiracy. Ilari Vasyl had a contact in Amsterdam, Prof. Hans Loper, a botanist, who may have some insight on unique and unusual plants. Wolfgang Fechtner made contact with Sarah Hester, have her get a van ready in Calais where they would go by van through Europe. Naturally, upon getting the van, Cal Morrison swept for surveillance, finding only a tracker, which he assumed came from Hester but could also have been ‘standard issue’ from CIA.

Upon getting to Amsterdam, they met up with Prof. Loper over a nice dinner, explaining that they were filming a documentary on legends and needed to know about special strains of plants, specifically garlic. Eventually, Prof. Loper stated that he knew a Dr. Adrianne Vanderpool in Haarlem and could arrange a meeting the following day. They all agreed to go the next day to the Vanderpool Glass House where they would investigate.

Upon arriving in Haarlam the following day by train, they went to the Glass House, which was an office building attached to a botanical lab and hot house. Immediately upon meeting Dr. Vanderpool, the investigative team was struck with how peculiar she was, a stoic young waif of a woman with a serious disposition.

They managed to get Dr. Vanderpool to take them on a tour of the facility. While taking them on the tour she was suspicious and somewhat dodgy on their questions. Vincente Rojas noticed a secret door in one of the hot houses and Franco Selvaggio stayed back looking for any unusual activity, taking careful notice of the security systems that were established, in case they needed to return for a late night investigation. However, at every question regarding the Vanderpool Garlic, Dr. Vanderpool was extremely dismissive, which they knew was dishonest. But why she was being dishonest, was unclear.

When Vasyl pressed Dr. Vanderpool on her knowledge of ancient supernatural legends, she eventually relented, and suggested they speak in private. Taking them into a sealed food tasting room, she was able to turn on some loud coffee makers, drowning out any noises. It was at this point that she revealed that she had more knowledge than she originally stated but there were problems. She explained, very nervously, that her business had been infiltrated by suspicious forces. Some individuals on her staff were likely answering to the mysterious group that was forcibly buying the Vanderpool Garlic from her. The team suspected this shadowy group was none other than Edom. She did explain that she would show them and sell them some of the garlic if they returned, disguised as delivery men. Since she was afraid that her own video security was compromised, she needed the ruse to be as careful as possible. That evening, prior to returning, Cal Morrison did investigate the security at the Vanderpool Glass House and discovered that while the Glass House was under surveillance, those conducting the surveillance were not using it often. But the origins were unclear as to where it was coming from.

That night, they returned with a van marked with logos of Axel Logistics as they pulled into Vanderpool Glass House. Meeting Dr. Vanderpool she quickly brought them inside, leaving Fechtner and Rojas outside in the van. Taking Morison, Vasyl and Selvaggio into a secret room and then into a secret, sealed, basement, they were immediately overcome by the scent of strong garlic. The mysterious and elusive plant they needed was right before them. Meanwhile, both Fecthner and Rojas noticed a suspicious white van circling the block.

Dr. Vanderpool explained what her family’s history was, in connection with the Vanderpool Garlic, explaining that her ancestors may have gotten the original strain from a cave in and around Romania and that it had special properties. She offered to sell them some of the garlic for a high price, putting it in special containers that would extend the potency of it.

Upon leaving, the group decided to head for Munich, but not before considering the mysterious van spotted by Rojas and Fechtner. They thought better of dealing with the van and started the all night trip to Munich where they knew they could watch Tabitha Holmwood as well as set up an appointment with someone at arms manufacturer, Leutner Fabrichen. Leutner was involved somehow but it was unclear of the exact connection. The team stopped on their way to Munich, only once, at the border, to declare what they were bringing in.

Upon checking into the hotel outside of Munich, something at the front desk seemed amiss and when Cal Morrison went to investigate on his laptop outside, he discovered that there was something with the German government, specifically the BND that was watching the hotel while Franco began flirting with the hotel desk clerk.

When Wolfgang Fechtner checked into his room, he discovered someone was waiting; his old boss and contact in the BND, Johan Schmidt. Schmidt wanted to know what his old friend was doing back in Germany and mentioned that Fechtner and his friends were spotted at the border, entering. Schmidt was happy to provide Fechtner and his friends any help they needed but needed to be careful and to watch themselves while in Germany. Upon leaving, Schmidt also told Fechtner that while in Germany they could go around without bother but they were to, under any circumstances, communicate or go around Tabitha Holmwood.

This prompted Fechtner to investigate the connection that Holmwood had to do with BND by breaking into their security files. Much to his shock, he discovered that the BND had Holmwood under surveillance for smuggling. The exact nature of the smuggling was redacted at the highest levels. The individual who did the redacting was none other than Schmidt who was not retired, as Fechtner had been told, but instead was operating at the highest levels within the BND. It was at that point that Fechtner altered the report, stating that Holmwood was currently being investigated for smuggling the Hillingham Brooch as they would be able to plant the false one on Holmwood if needed.

Meanwhile, Franco Selvaggio was busy making friends. By taking the desk clerk’s offer to accompany her on a date with some friends at a nearby nightclub, he was quickly making some local contacts with civilians, something that Selvaggio had long known was a useful approach in working undercover and getting to know the local flavor.

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Episode 10: Blood of Demons

December 27th – December 29th, 2017

Setting up their plan in the Village Garage, the team determined their next move was to put surveillance on Countess Dolinz from the hotel where she was staying. Cal Morrison hacked into the London CCTV cameras with the hopes that he could monitor the movements of her underlings, while Franco Selvaggio and Pascal Lerue joined him in a neighboring hotel. Ilari Vasyl and Wolfgang Fechtner set up a monitoring point in a hotel on the other side of the Countess’ location.

With agent Sarah Hester monitoring the situation from the ground with Vincente Rojas, the group was able to spy on the Countess from her suites at the upscale hotel where she was staying. They quickly reconfirmed that the Countess was unable to be captured on audio or video but Fecthner was able to read her lips from time to time to get part of her conversation.

It was not long before the Countess received a visitor, Rupert Cavendish, the local chief executive for Bichi National Bank in London. The two seemed to discuss plans of ‘The Master,’ an obvious reference to Dracula as well as some long term plans they had in London. Further, Cavendish seemed to counsel against a proposed meeting with an agent from Edom and the two further discussed activities likely associated with the Satanic Cult of Dracula as they made numerous references to ‘the Cult’ and it seemed as if Cavendish ran that cell as an asset in London.

Before leaving, Cavendish offered some kind of token to the Countess which, from the distance, seemed like a necklace with strands of hair, string or rope. Once Cavendish departed, the Countess seemed to summon some kind of creature, later identified as a Blood Demon. Upon offering to the creature the token she was given, she seemed to dispatch it into the cold night air.

The creature made a circuit around the area before downing one of Morrison’s drones and bringing it to the Countess and then the creature went on a relentless attack towards Ilari Vasyl in the neighboring hotel. Selvaggio was able to get off a shot from his high powered rifle from several blocks away but then the creature was suddenly, and viciously, atop Ilari and Fechtner, showing the horrific brutality that it possessed. With great skill and a little luck, Vasyl was able to fend off the creature with his silver machete and silver dagger but it was not killed With the weapons still stuck in its body, it fled back to the Countess, presenting her with the weapons it had escaped with. At this point, the group fled back to the Village Garage to plan their next move.

Fechtner consulted with the Cache of Books on various occult topics. Some pieces by Dr. John Dee, the sorcerer associated with Queen Elizabeth, discussed the creature and stated that direct sunlight was a bane but more importantly, they discovered that it had a homing ability and that if it was given a task, it would do so until the prey was killed. Only by dispatching the creature would it be possible to save Ilari. So they set up a trap in the Village Garage for that night to see if they could draw it in.

That day, Franco met with Elizabeth Cavanaugh at the Hooker’s Boot. Elizabeth mentioned that she was heading to the Continent and offered Franco some paid work. Franco was naturally suspicious and wanted to decline but Elizabeth made it clear she would be very offended if he turned her down. He agreed to ‘think about it’ which was likely a way of stalling so that she found other avenues for her work which was no doubt dirty and vile.

Morrison watched his surveillance he had placed on the Countess’ minions and targeted Niles Graves, the Countess’ chief of security. By following his movements around London, he performed a variety of tasks in the service of the Countess, including a meeting at Linklaters LLP as well as at Bichi Bank and Baxter Realtors.

Wolfgang Fechtner studied the Cache of Books supplied by Pascal Lerue and determined that the Blood Demon was likely going to return to finish the job by destroying Ilari. So the team knew they had to defend themselves as the creature was not only dangerous but persistent

That night, the group used the Village Garage to establish a defensive position. They acquired high powered UV lights from a film studio, with the hopes that the light would damage the demon. They then waited for the creature to arrive.

As the hour came close to 11 PM, the doors to the garage saw a massive armored vehicle appear and a team deploy from the vehicle. This Edom kill team was well prepared and willing to use every bit of lethal force at their disposal. However, the investigators were able to fend off the attackers. But, as it turned out, the Blood Demon used this opportunity to also make an attack, coming through the door. As the chaotic scene degenerated into chaos and violence, the Edom kill team was dispatched (and some retreated, destroying their armored vehicle in the process). But the actions against the Blood Demon continued. Fechtner and Vasyl were both severely injured but they managed to destroy the creature with their tactics as well as the UV lights they had set up. But the newest danger was that they had caused enough of a scene that they had to get out of town.

Ilari Vasyl had a contact in Somerset, Marion Moore, who was a hacktivist that he had assisted in the past. Since she owed him a number of favors, she would be an excellent person to help hide the team while the team laid low for a few days or a week. While staying with Marion, the team had a new plan; perhaps getting to continental Europe was the best plan as there were a number of leads to track down while staying away from London and letting the heat die down. So it was decided that either Germany or Hungary would be their next stop.

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Episode 9: Christmas with the Cardinal

December 21st – 25th 2017

Returning from Scotland, just in time for the busiest time of year in London, Christmas, Ilari Vasyl, Cal Morrison and Wolfgang Fechtner had a lot of information to pour over. As they made their way to the Village Garage, they encountered their friend Pascal Lerue, who was quickly informed of their exploits in the north, more importantly, details on Vampires as the team had encountered their very first one, and destroyed the creature in a harrowing battle. Lerue, in turn, had his own information to provide . . .

First, Lerue presented the group with a Cache of Books which contained a wealth of information on a variety of subjects that could aid in investigating the occult, theology, European legends and so on. Presumably, this would provide details on not only vampires but other fell creatures and witchcraft.

Lerue went on to mention a situation with Icelandic diplomat, Thor Halvarsson. Halvarson, as a champion of liberal policies and human rights, was also a vocal opponent of the massive amount of human trafficking that was underway in eastern Europe and Turkey. Whereas Halvarsson would make an excellent ally due to his connections in eastern Europe (including, perhaps, The Unicorn), there was a problem. Certain individuals who were increasingly threatened by Halvarsson’s actions had put out a hit on him, in the form of the international assassin, The Cardinal. The mastermind behind the hit was none other than underworld figure, Vasile Chitule. If the team was going to be able to potentially leverage Halvarsson as an asset, they would have to thwart the actions of The Cardinal.

Further, Lerue also mentioned the growing power of a German illegal arms cartel, known as the Tuefel Cartel. This was suggested by way of finding a group that could be useful in getting arms ‘off books.’ Of course, the Tuefel Cartel was a dangerous organization and dealing with them would be no small feat. Alternatively, there was an eastern European arms dealer, independent from a larger outfit named ‘Natalia Constantin.’

Cal put forth his own information, regarding the ownership of Slains Castle. Seemingly, the law firm of Billington and Sons were likely blocking the sale of the castle over the years so that when Linklaters LLP negotiated the purchase for Axel Logistics, Billington backed off, suggesting that the groups were following the rules of the same master, putting all three as part of the conspiracy. Cal also reminded the group of the indication that Edom was looking at eliminating Lord Caldwell as well as an associated arms dealer Gabriella Vega. They sent word to Vega to watch herself and decided on a different approach for Lord Caldwell.

That evening, Fechtner and Lerue had a meet with agent Sarah Hester. Hester, a figure whom Cal Morrison increasingly distrusted, had a strong connection with Lord Caldwell. Fechtner and Lerue suggested that Hester use her influence to protect Caldwell as best they could and she agreed, suggesting that if there was anything else they needed her to do, she was willing. Since it was Hester who last saw Rojas, she mentioned that he was waiting for them at St. Mary’s Cathedral where they should meet up with him to give him further instructions.

Ilari Vasyl, loading up on silver crucifixes and holy water for his personal use, made a visit to his sister, Nina Vasyl. Nina, ever pleased to see her brother, was hosting a Christmas party. Ilari questioned her as to whether or not she would be able to arrange a meet with Thor Halvarsson, someone who she had a good relationship with. She agreed and as a Christmas gift, Ilari gave her one of the silver crucifixes he had obtained.

Meanwhile, Cal Morrison decided to activate an ally he never thought he would have to. An associate of his, Madame Karolina, an individual who purported to have strong psychic gifts, was nearby in London. Taking the Spirit Board they had stolen from the home of Hela Cuthbert Singleton, he suspected that Madame Karolina would know what to do with it. After getting to her London flat and revisiting old times, he then got down to business. He explained that the Spirit Board he had was the possession of a psychic but there was a spirit that was trying to get in touch with him and asked Madame Karolina if she could try to get in touch with the spirit. She agreed but stated this was the second time this week someone from the American government had come to her. She had also been visited by Kelly Reynolds, an agent known to Cal, and wondered of Madame Karolina would be available for ‘consulting’ on psychic matters. Whereas Cal did not tell her to refuse, he told her to be careful and to watch what she said and did.

Meanwhile, Fechtner and Lerue met up with Vincinte Rojas at St. Mary’s and filled him in on what was going on. Rojas, as it turned out, knew of Thor Halvarsson and stated he could likely get in to see the man the following day. This would be a helpful inroads to meeting Halvarsson as Rojas’ work with liberating women from human traffickers made him something of a celebrity in Halvarasson’s eyes.

Back at the flat of Madame Karolina, she and Cal began to work the Spirit Board. It did not take long for her abilities to find a spirit attached with the board and at hat moment a strange visage appeared, startling Cal. Madame Karolina and the spirit engaged in a conversation in a language Cal could not understand but after the meeting Karolina seemed drained from her conversation but she explained to Cal what she learned.

The spirit was none other than A A Singleton, father of Hela Cuthbert Singleton and he admitted to having worked with ‘Cushing’ in the 1980’s. However, whereas he was never certain about the existence of Dracula, he revealed that he had uncovered the existence of a group known as the Satanic Cult of Dracula as well as references to something called the Scholomance. But as Karolina further revealed, dealing with Singleton was a dangerous task as he was in constant pursuit by spirits in the afterlife and that the entity known as Dracula was coming and a great evil was descending across the whole of Europe. Karolina, perhaps weary of Cal’s claims, was now completely involved in the story and despite her fear, wanted to help as best she could. Cal left, again issuing a warning about the danger she was possibly in and said he would later return to see if she could help further.

As the group later met back up, they all shared the details of what they learned and Rojas set up the meet with Halvarsson for the following day. It was decided that they would learn what they could from Halvarsson, attempt to set up a relationship and warn him from the impending danger that the Cardinal posed to his life. Vasyl, Lerue and Rojas would make the meet while Cal would stand by outside and Fechtner would have the car waiting in case of an emergency.

Noting that the security at Halvarsson’s building was secure, they made their way to the elevator and encountered only the elevator operator. Upon arriving at Halvarsson’s spacious flat, they got in and made introductions, noting that Halvarsson was pleasant, if not confident with a slight air of arrogance. He seemed pleased and impressed that he was getting the opportunity to meet with Rojas, someone whom he had admired for some time. And when told that men like Vasile Chitule was sending assassins like the Cardinal after him, Halvarsson seemed to laugh in the face of such danger. However, his opinion quickly changed when Rojas’ jacket began to produce a gaseous material. The choking and coughing that soon was produced in the room meant they were under attack! As Lerue went to secure the front door, Rojas realized that the elevator operator must have slipped the capsule into his pocket. It was at that moment that Lerue came face to face with the Cardinal, still wearing the elevator operator’s uniform.

Immediately a fight broke out with the Cardinal easily able to take on all comers against him. His fighting prowess, legendary as the rumors suggested, almost took out all three agents within moments. However, a lucky shot by Pascale Lerue plugged a bullet through the Cardinal’s right eye, killing him dead.

Shortly after the altercation, Cal arrived on the scene and they examined one another’s wounds, discovering them to be somewhat superficial as it turned out. Halvarsson was able to deflect police questioning from the agents and send them down the back stairs of his flat.

It was at that point that Cal set up a meet with Agent Tyler Gold after informing Agent Gold of the death of The Cardinal. When they met at the abandoned Underground station, Gold stated that whereas The Cardinal was a vile man, indeed, the CIA had been using him as an asset and that Cal’s involvement in his death needed to be downplayed. Cal in turn told Gold to inform Chief of Station Buckley about a possible sleeper cell in London but gave no specifics to the Satanic Cult of Dracula.

Finally, taking some of the details provided by Madame Karlonina, they were able to determine the location of where the Satanic Cult of Dracula likely had some meetings. Using the Dracula Dossier to find references to the Cult, they determined that the most likely location was a place called Coldfall House which was, hardly surprisingly, owned by Bichi National Bank. Whether they would be able to spring a trap or wire it for surveillance would be seen.

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