March 20th, 2018 – March 25th, 2018
Part 1: The Frankenstein Folio
As part of the team returned to the secret safehouse of Dr. Oskar Beaufort, they needed rest after the successful, but stressful mission in Berlin. Cal Morrison, Pascale Lerue and Wolfgang Fecthner engaged in some much needed rest, even though, their host Dr. Beaufort, had every mannerism that put them on edge. Dr. Beaufort was irritable as well as aggressive when questions were posed of him, with him explaining that he had been extremely helpful so far and the agents should not treat him as a tool but rather as a partner.
Meanwhile, in Amsterdam, Luigi Cardellini, Franco Selvaggio, Illari Vasyl and Vicente Rojas had pressing plans – meeting up with the man that had kidnapped Emma Goetz. The mysterious figure had told them to meet him at the top of the St. Nicholas Cathedral at 8PM. This was something they had not wanted to miss as the individual had information he could provide about the mysterious Dr. Beaufort.
Upon arriving at St. Nicholas’ cathedral, Franco was already in place across the street, prepared to open fire if needed. Luigi, Illari and Vicente entered the church and went to the rooftop as requested. At the appointed time the stranger arrived with Ms. Goetz. When Illari began to question the creature, it became obvious in short order that the stranger, calling himself Vincent, was some kind of bizarre medical experiment. When it was revealed that Dr. Beaufort created him, Illari immediately made the connection that Beaufort was Dr. Frankenstein of legend and Vincent was the Creature of the Mary Shelly novel.
Vincent further revealed that Beaufort had been prolonging his life for years by harvesting the organs of relatives, replacing them as needed, and conducting grotesque experiments in the name of science. Ms. Goetz was to be the next such subject in his horrific work. Vincent freely admitted, however, that it was not for Ms. Goetz’s safety he was involved but instead to frustrate the sinister doctor’s efforts.
It was then that an Edom kill team arrived on the scene, led by a woman identified as Vendella French. A full assault took place between the team and the agents with a helicopter appearing on the horizon, making its way towards the top of the cathedral. Well placed shots and a well timed grenade bought the agents some time but it became a close race. As the helicopter came closer, Franco was about ready to shoot the pilot when he noticed the vehicle being commanded by CIA field agent, Sarah Hester (who was not on the best of terms with the agents as it was). The agents were able to board the helicopter, taking Ms. Goetz with them but Vincent was not so lucky. He was shot by several Edom agents, falling off the top of the cathedral, distracting the Edom team as the helicopter pulled away.
Meanwhile, back in Ostend at the secret location of Dr. Beaufort’s lab and hideout, the team got a visitor; Ms. Magda Paz, the field medic and occult researcher who had saved Illari from being doomed to a life of vampirism several weeks ago when the team was in Munich Ms. Paz was acting suspiciously but before anyone could react, her eyes and mouth began to pour fourth blood as she spoke with an unholy terror, clearly being puppeted by the dark lord, Dracula himself! Cal and Pascal had to kill her before Dracula, acting through a vessel, could do more harm to them. And then they knew the area was compromised and had to escape, but not before torching the hideout, destroying Beaufort’s work lest it fall into the wrong hands. (Though there was some suggestion that Beaufort, himself, may have qualified as ‘the wrong hands.’)
As the helicopter, escaping the top of St. Nicholas’ Cathedral flew away, Sarah Hester told Illari where the drop off point would be, allowing for Wolfgang and the other agents to meet up with them in roughly two hours. When the helicopter landed, Hester further commented that they were lucky her operatives were in the area and were using video surveillance in Amsterdam to trace their moves. She also assured him that the mistrust the group had in her was misplaced and added that Cal Morrison could go ‘fuck himself’ for his trust issues as they would likely get him killed in the long run. After her team departed, Illari and Franco began to question Ms. Goetz who was, without a doubt, terrified.
They learned that whereas she did know Karl Bonnaire, she did not him by that name, instead knew him by ‘Charles,’ a man she dated from time to time and who did not even live in Amsterdam. Satisfied that she was not a member of the conspiracy, but likely a subject whom Dr. Bueafort wished to cannibalize for ‘parts,’ Illari was determined not to let her fall into his clutches. But whatever information Me Goetz had, it was likely very little. Certainly, she was an employee of Bichi National Bank, a criminal organization with likely ties to various conspiracies and she also seemed to have some social or romantic entanglements with Karl, but there was little that could be done now and they were convinced she was an innocent in all of this.
As the rest of the group arrived, Illari wasted no time in frantically explaining to the rest of the team what had happened, who Vincent was, what he had said and more importantly, who Dr. Beaufort really was. As a result, it was clear that Dr. Beaufort had been prolonging his life through science for over 100 years and whereas he may be a powerful scientific ally, he was also a potential monster. Of course, they all knew, at least in the back of their minds, especially their visit to Helix Labs some months ago when they first encountered Dr. Beaufort, that he was somewhat unhinged. But they made an arrangement with him – they would not be a party to any of his more sinister antics but would work together to investigate the vampiric conspiracy. The team would help him get his research materials and he would provide them with technical advice and items from time to time.
At this point the group sent Ms. Goetz on her way with the ability to contact her from time to time and decided they would investigate Mr. Henri Valant in Vienna. They would drop off Beaufort in Salzburg (the birthplace of Mozart) on their way and provide a means for them to get in touch with one another. It was then that the team made their way to Vienna, checking into a hotel, ten blocks away from Casino Wein, the site of a previous operation.
Part 2: Valant’s Vault
The goal in Vienna and in investigating Valant was twofold. First, Valant’s interest in Whitby jet was of interest to him, especially since he was likely in possession of the Hillingham Brooch. Second, Valant had a strong connection – according to several sources – with the human trafficking ring that was rampant throughout Europe. Specifically, according to Edom agent Naploean Corsico, he may be the last known figure to have contact with Anna Cardellini, the wife of Franco Selvaggio and sister of Luigi Cardellini. However, the team had kept the last part secret from Franco and Luigi.
As fate would have it, Pascal had a contact in Vienna. His ex-wife, Nadine Weiss, a former Interpol agent and current private security contact lived there and had a warm relationship with her ex-husband. As the team stayed in the hotel, investigating the Vampire Hunting Kit once owned by Abraham van Helsing, Pascal took the opportunity to meet with Nadine and discover if she had any useful intel on Valant.
Whereas Wolfgang, Illari and Cal spent a great deal of time with the Vampire Hunting Kit, Illari made certain Cal was aware of the Van Helsing Cameo. The cameo had a painting inside that that was most likely a representation of Dracula and it was suggested that perhaps, by tracking down the artist, they would get more knowledge into some of the inner workings of Dracula’s network. After all, someone was creating life-like representations of undead figures such as Countess Dolinz in order for them to have legitimate passport photos. During his research, he found the prayer, which was on one side, as one issued by the Diocese of Mechelen-Brussels. (Of course, it is ironic, in some ways, that the Cathedral of St. Nicholas, in Amsterdam, falls under the jurisdiction of Mechelen-Brussels.) After extensive research he discovered that the painting was likely the work of Francis Aytown, who was a contemporary of the investigators in the 1890’s and whose descendant ran the Aytown Galleries in Soho.
Nadine Weiss proved to have very little in the way on Valant, other than he was known as a shady underworld figure with connections in human trafficking. His business, Contre-Temps, was an antique house that specialized in finding hard to find items for the right buyer. However, Pascal was lucky in that as it happened, Nadine had been in contact with someone who was investigating Valant. Nadine promised to put Pascal in contact with this individual the next day. A meet was scheduled and Pascal returned to inform his associates who had uncovered a massive amount of information about the Vampire Hunting Kit. Some of the items specifically examined were:
It was at this point that Wolfgang decided to have Charles Asante send him Whitby jet through certified mail.
Meeting with Nadine’s contact was a far more colorful character than expected. The following day at an upscale pub in Vienna Pascal Lerue arrived (with the rest of the team scattered throughout the area). He soon met Arnbjorg Strand, a Norwegian super-thief with contacts all throughout Europe who boasted she could get in and out of just about any home, vault or secure location. The colorful and direct Strand agreed to work on the Valant case as his vault was something she, herself, was working to crack for two months to steal something for an interested buyer, whose identity she kept secret. She did reveal that the prize she was seeking was something called the Vordenburg Diary
Meeting the next evening with Strand, she made it clear she came prepared and was more than capable. She had blueprints of Contre-Temps, as well as intel on the security detail which included specs on the security systems which led to the basement vault. Further, she seemed to develop quite the connection with Franco, whom she determined was a wild Italian.
Illari made contact with his black market associate Boiko Kostevych to resupply some items that were desperately needed, included grenades, tear gas and gas masks. Illari was not about to go into a dangerous situation unprepared.
The following evening the team breached the Contre-Temps and began to bypass the security system as well as took out the armed guards near the vault. Once they got into the climate controlled vault, it was less a vault and more of an underground storeroom bunker that likely went back to the days of WWII as a Gestapo bunker. As they began to run wild, seeing the various treasures that Valant had spirited away, they did come across not only the Hillingham Brooch but also numerous pieces of Whitby jet. Franco spent his time collecting as many valuable art treasures as he could find, using his extensive knowledge of art history. Strand, however, made a direct move for the Vordenburg Diary.
When Cal approached a set of double doors that seemed far more ornate, he was in for a terrible surprise. From a latch above the double doors, something sprung forth and attacked. This Guardian Creature, perhaps the most horrific and vile creature the team had yet come across, was a grotesque abomination with multiple limbs, a mouth that spread far open and fangs. Worse yet, it was likely the creature was once human.
Defeating the desperate and vicious creature was a hard fought battle and as soon as it was dead (or dead again), they knew they had little time in which to escape. Cal went into the double doors and found an ornate parlor that held one set of items; a set of books later identified as the Bathory Journals. These texts, supposedly written by Countess Elizabeth Bathory, herself, were highly valuable, themselves.
With that, the group grabbed what they came for – and a lot more – and escaped. Strand stated she knew someone who was helping her with the research, a computer hacker named ‘Mako,’ who could help.
Part 3: The Countess Case File
Immediately arriving to the location that Strand identified as Mako’s hideout, it was clear it had been burned. Mako had gotten sloppy or unlucky and by the looks of things, it was Edom’s handiwork that had done the deed.
A quick search of the location showed that most things of value had already been taken, however, Illari found a secret compartment with some documents that Mako had gotten hold of and hidden away. Was it what Edom was looking for? Upon closer examination the documents, the Countess Case Study, was clearly an Edom document that it seemed they would be willing to kill to get back.
It was at this point the team considered themselves lucky they had not been here when Edom had arrived and beat a hasty retreat, clearing out of the hotel they had been staying in. They bid farewell to Strand, suggesting they would contact her again as she promised to do them a favor in the future. And with her seeming interest in Franco, it was likely she would not be away from them for long.
After clearing out of the hotel and then Vienna, the team decided that pressing their luck with Valant was not wise. Certainly he likely had secrets and certainly had information on Anna Cardellini, Franco’s wife, but the team felt the heat had gotten too high in Vienna and Rome would be their next stop. There were certainly suggestions that Rome housed secrets of its own that the team would desperately need to uncover.
Examining the Whitby jet sent by Mr. Asante, they discovered that it had a tracker, indicting Asante had been compromised. Once they disposed of the jet they were on their way, however, noting a few days later the strange death of Mr. Charles Asante in London, suggesting the conspiracy was shutting down loose ends.