October 23rd, 2018 – October 30th, 2018
After fleeing the Swiss Alps after the destruction of Countess Dolinz, the team had to get to Rome. There they would finally meet Hopkins and then set up a pick up with Bishop Champavier, to collect a relic they needed in their fight against Dracula. They had Matthew Sutherland with them but they dropped off Adelaide LeClerque who had to make her way back to Bucharest.
They made their way to the apartment where Hopkins was hiding and were introduce to a young woman of Indian decent who said her name was Priya Ramen, explaining that she and Sutherland worked for British Intelligence as analysts. Her story was that she received the Dracula Dossier about three years ago after certain events were triggered, plans laid out by Cushing, her predecessor, that would have the document fall into her lap. It took her a year to figure it out, determine what to do with it and bring in the team. From there she had been dealing dodging Edom, sending clues to help the team and generally throwing up roadblocks to their enemies. But the time had come to reveal herself as her actions had been detected and now she was on the run. She explained that the only people who knew who she was were the team and the journalist Laurel Dene. And she had made contact with Sir Reginald Hillary, who she urged to come to Rome and get out from underneath the thumb of MI5 and Edom. She was committed to helping the team full time and seeing this whole thing through. But there was something about Southerland that made Aiden Tobias increasingly nervous. He simply could not put his finger on the specifics . . .
Hopkins did have a pleasant surprise for the team. She presented them with a weapon she had smuggled out of England, a stake-shooting crossbow that she believed may have been owned by Lucy Westenra, AKA Heartbreaker. Hopkins went on to explain that Heartbreaker was a vampire agent reluctantly working for Edom. When asked about D or Dr. Drawes, Hopkins had few other answers other than suggesting that D was one of the most slippery spy-masters in the world, capable of brokering deals with any agency he wished, as well as a group of vampires, including Dracula.
Hopkins continued that the blow the team had dealt in Switzerland was a severe one to both Edom and Dracula. Obviously, the destruction of the Countess was severe but they had also gotten rid of two top level Edom agents, Pearl and, as it turned out, Elvis.
Turning to the Trinity Seals, the team needed to have them identified as they knew some were legitimate and some were fakes. Kat DeWein had a contact who happened to be in the area, Alfonz Kampf, who was an excellent art dealer and art historian. She set up a meet with him and decided to take Pascal Lerue with her, while Aiden Tobias and Illari Vassyl went to meet with Bishop Champavier and collect the cross he promised to uncover for them.
Laying their hands on the cross from Bishop Champavier was simple. He explained that the cross was used by Ferdinand and Isabella to bless the ships that explored the New World and as a result, had some kind of symbolic significance. Further, he asked that they take great care of the item as it was fragile, bulky and precious, and was a favorite item of the Holy Father.
Meanwhile, as Kat and Pascal met with Kampf at a wine villa outside of Rome, Kampf determined that the items were old demon hunting items used by German holy men in service of the Church. He explained that when destroyed in front of an evil creature, they would destroy a servant outright but a master would only be hurt (albeit badly) by it. They were satisfied with this and knew they had a useful weapon at their disposal. However, at the conclusion of the meeting, suddenly, something attacked from the darkness. Revealing himself, Pascal and Kat were face to face with Claude Vignon, the son of Dracula whom the team had thought destroyed months earlier. But how he survived and came back to haunt them was a mystery, but not yet one they were prepared to dwell upon.
The attack was brutal and merciless, with Pascal almost being killed in one strike. Kat reluctantly used one of the Trinity Seals on the creature as she felt it was her best option, minimizing the risk of serious harm. To her surprise, it was as if the choir of angels had arrived when she destroyed it in his presence, and to make sure she was rid of the creature, she used some of Van Helsing’s stakes to end the creature’s wretched existence for good. With that, they quickly left and made their way back to Rome.
Upon arriving back at the apartment safehouse, the team examined Lerue’s wounds are were pleased to discover they were not life threatening. While Illari tended to him the rest of the group decided if they were going to have a chance of stopping some of Dracula’s geomantic power, they would need something to replicate an earthquake device and the best way to do that would be to try and get Dr. Henry Loughlin and his wife, Jo, out of the CIA blacksite where they were kept. And the blacksite was in Bucharest, under the care of Lou Mangiotti.
Aiden went to work creating some iron clad cover identities, or at least ones that would hold up over a day or two. They decided to pose as representatives from Guantanamo Bay, arriving to take the Loughlins off Mangiotti’s hands.
Arriving in Bucharest and showing their CIA credentials at the gates of the CIA offices, they got in and were able to speak to Mangiotti, who was suspicious but could do nothing as their credentials were seemingly in order. He then took them out into the country where there was a farmhouse but underneath was their blacksite operation. Upon getting in, they noticed several prisoners in cells, either CIA guests or perhaps those of Edom’s. But when Mangiotti tried to get them out, Adam Cylinski, the chief interrogator balked at the idea, turning on Mangiotti, Aiden and DeWein, showing he had far more powerful abilities than a mere human – he had clearly been flipped by Edom and was their eyes and ears on the inside.
In the ensuing fight, Cylinski showed superhuman strength, with Aiden taking the brunt of it and Mangiotti getting away with only having his nose broken. Eventually Cylinski was killed in the fight. They managed to use the chaos to bluster their way out, bluffing Mangiotti that they would overlook the situation if he didn’t detain them any further as his operation was clearly compromised.
Quickly getting out of the city and then getting out of Bucharest, they took Dr. Loughlin and his wife to the safest place they knew, the Dominican Monastery in Spain. They asked what he needed to build the earthquake device and he provided a list. They used some of the saved funds they had to spend a week moving around getting the parts and pieces, hoping they could get it back to Loughlin in time and give him enough time to construct the device.
They were about to take the fight to Dracula and his minions but first they needed to get to Castle Dracula, which, as they decided, had to be Castle Craciuna.