Night's Black Agents: Dracula Dossier

Episode 64: Focul Viu

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November 3rd, 2018 – November 7th, 2018

As Kat DeWein, Pascal Lerue and Illari Vassyl sped away from the scene where Fort and her men had hidden out, they needed a location to flee towards. Kat had a friend outside of town, Jacob DiFlorio, who owned a winery and she knew he could put them up for at least a day or two. Meanwhile, Aiden Tobias fled with Hopkins and Matthew Southerland, knowing they had to get as far away from Rome as possible. Fortunately, Tobias also had a friend, Anna Bodi, who ran a hotel where they could all stay for a few days. However, en route outside of town, Southerland asked to make a stop, stating he had massive amounts of cash that they could grab, all stored at a safehouse.

Intriguing as this was, Tobias was suspicious as there was some concern of Southerland’s loyalty. Tobias contacted DeWein, Vassyl and Lerue and they all agreed the money was a good option, it was too risky, especially if Southerland was a double agent.

When Lerue, DeWein and Vassyl arrived at DiFlorio’s winery, they began to question, interrogate and torture Fort. They were interested in her relationship with Edom and how she knew all that she did. She explained there was a massive network of individuals who answered to Edom, whether they knew it or not but that all communication was handled through a communications expert named ‘Prince.’ They further asked why she trusted Dracula despite all the times Edom had been double crossed. She explained that whereas she may have made a bad choice, she made the best choice she could under the circumstances as she earnestly believed in the work Edom was doing with regards to the fight against radical Islam.

Further, when the question was posed about D, she admitted she had never met him but he was in Rome, likely awaiting to meet her. Similar, Hound was also nearby as things were heating up. As to the economic crisis that was increasing the grip over Europe, she stated that was not Edom’s doing but likely Dracula’s. When Illari asked her if she was concerned about the plan Dracula likely had for taking over England, Fort arrogantly declared that D promised that would not happen. There were too many safeguards to protect England’s elite. Illari called her a fool but respected her integrity. Before Kat killed her, she left with a word of advice: there were no heroes despite the choices that were being made. Before leaving for Tobias’ safehouse, they made contact with Dalia Blackfriars to get more of Sir. Wilfred Corbin’s serum. She did warn them that the looming economic crisis would likely have law enforcement agencies on high alert, worrying about not only riots but further terrorist attacks. When she was asked about Sir Reginald Hillary’s project with the Proserpine, she assured them that Sir Reginald was ready to execute the plan to raid it.

Meeting up at the hotel in Orvieto, Tobias quickly seized the cell phones and communications devices from Hopkins and Southerland. When collecting a secret phone from Southerland, he noticed this was a high-tech government issued piece of equipment. Was this something handed to him by his superiors in MI6 or somewhere else? Is this a piece that someone like D would have? The red flags were certainly raised.

It was at this point that Illari and Kat wanted to have a word with Southerland. They wanted to know about the money, the communications devices and everything he may have been holding out. He quickly revealed that his rise through MI6 was in part due to some friends of his in the CIA. This floored them as they were unaware just how deep the CIA had gotten in the community. They then learned that his handler was Sarah Hester and, of course, this meant Eloise Buckley sat at the top. Hopkins was furious with her boyfriend but things were far beyond that as everyone had bigger concerns at the moment.

Of course, the group now felt safe – or at least somewhat safe – that the money Southerland had promised was not a complete trap. They had the sense that the money was there even though it seemed that Southrland had diverted the funds from MI6 missions in the Balkans. But still, Illari wanted to mitigate the danger. So he contacted a local thug he knew, Guido Soprano, who would get the money for him, after entering the safehouse and using the security code. But when Soprano came out, there was almost too much for him to carry, with him holding numerous bags, filled with Euros. They gave Guido some of the money and sent him on his way, hopefully causing enough of a distraction to divert some of the attention away from them.

At this point the team noted that they needed help if they were to attack Castle Dracula. They got in touch with Monsignor Cesare Rinaldi and got him to meet them in a train station in Moldova. But when they got to the train station, they discovered that local law enforcement was everywhere and they had to think quickly in order to get out with the eccentric priest.

Later that night, they decided the best way to get to Dracula’s Castle, Castle Craciuna, deep in the woods, was to investigate Le Dragon Noir for any clues. Tobias, who had the most familiarity with the ancient cursed text, discovered a ritual that would light the mysterious Focul Viu, or Witch Fires, and take them along the path they needed. It was at that point that they began to hear the sounds of the baying of the wolves.

They approached the castle on horseback and fought off the dire creatures that took the form of wolves, suffering only minor injuries. But as they pressed on, they came to the castle, approaching through the shadow of the home of Dracula. It was run down, in disrepair but was the symbolic home of the monster they were hunting. Whereas they did find a secret passage into the castle, they decided to go in the more conventional way, as the passage was dangerous and treacherous.

They faced the first of many tribulations in the form of a shadow dragon, an avatar of Dracula, himself. The creature was terrifying but surprising in how relatively easy it was to dispatch. But clearly this was the first of many trials they were to face. Going below into the crypts, they were attacked by a swarm of vampires but pushed on, realizing the deranged servants of Dracula were hungry to please their master.

When they finally breached the inner crypt of Dracula, they were again swarmed by even larger groups of vampires, as well as one of Dracula’s brides, Madame St Armand. She was a brutal opponent, in control of vile magic. During the fight, the team fought valiantly, but they suffered a pair of serious tragedies. Pascael Lerue and Monsignor Rinaldi were both killed. But their lives were lost in vain. Tobias used the power in Le Dragon Noir to destroy St Armand and then they used one of the Trinity Seals to consecrate the ground of Dracula’s Castle.

Limping out of the castle, they were desperate to get back to civilization and heal. But as soon as they emerged, they were surrounded by helicopters over the horizon.

Edom had found them.

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Episode 63: In the Blood

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October 31st, 2018 – November 3rd, 2018

Still in Rome, watching over Hopkins and Sutherland, the team pondered their next move, which was, most likely, trying to take out Castle Dracula. But this would be a serious task, unsure of exactly how to progress. They felt they knew the location but were unsure of exactly how to neutralize the target. But amid all this, there were other concerns – fears of a European financial meltdown, brought about by several coordinated attacks on banks and financial institutions through the continent and the United Kingdom. Were these terrorist attacks orchestrated by Dracula? Edom? Or just vile attacks perpetrated by terrorist groups? Either way, the tension all around them was mounting.

The team was reviewing their options, including meeting with Sir. Reginald Hillary to get his assessment of the situation when Pascal Lerue and Illari Vassyl stepped out for supplies. It was then that Illari was approached by someone he thought he would never see again – Vincente Rojas. Rojas took them to a dive bar a few blocks away to explain his story. But before that, he wanted Kat DeWein and Aiden Tobias to arrive as well, as what he had to say was shocking.

Vincente reveals that he has contracted a minor form of vampirsm. He has not converted, wholly, but is in constant struggle to keep it under control. He understands if the team wants to keep him at arm’s length but still offers a great deal of aid if they will let him. He also reveals that he has been following the trial of a woman named, Fort, a Duke of Edom who is an expert vampire killer, herself, as well as an assassin who specializes in explosives and other dangerous devices. Apparently, she is in Rome hunting down Hopkins, who Edom has ordered her to assassinate. Fort is getting her information from another Edom Duke, an operative named Prince, who seems to be their computer and communications expert. The team agrees that Vincente is worth having around as they trust his sincerity and dedication to stopping Dracula.

At this point the team decides their next best option is to kidnap Fort and interrogate her. They spend the day tracking down where she and her entourage are holed up, while Kat and Pascal decide to speak with Sir Hillary.

When Kat and Pascal arrive at the Plaza di Orsini, an upscale hotel in Rome, they get into the penthouse suite where Sir Hillary is coordinating efforts as his new role as Director of Civilian Oversight for the British government. A team of aids and assistants (and bodyguards) are abuzz with the current looming financial crisis and when the team suggests to him that Edom is likely involved, he reluctantly agrees. The team then informs him of the dangerous of the Proserpine and begs him to use his influence to shut down this illegal black site operation. Sir Hillary mentions that the expanded powers he has been given were only temporary and he would likely no longer have them once the public attention was placed elsewhere. So if they were going to act, they would have to so do soon.

Sir Hillary also asked about the Corbin Serum, supplied by his associate, Sir Wifred Corbin and when they tell him they need replacements, he agrees to resupply them through an agent he will loan to them, Dalia Blackfriars. At this point, Hillary suggests it may be too dangerous for them to publicly meet often and perhaps Ms. Blackfriars would be a good intermediary.

Meanwhile, Illari and Vincente have tracked down where Fort and her agents have holed up – a construction site for a hotel that is currently on strike. It seems as if Fort’s team has an entire set-up in play and is acting as a communications hub. The team determined if they could get in, take out her associates and interrogate her, they could learn some vital information.

When the team got back together, they executed the plan, using Aiden back at the flat with Sutherland and Hopkins, to coordinate the efforts. Aiden, acting as the eyes and ears for the team, was also set to protect Hopkins and Sutherland since, Fort’s people were still looking for the pair and may have to move at a moment’s notice.

The field agents put together a tactical assault on the first floor of the construction, site, taking out their opponents quickly, with Aiden’s help. Then they used non lethal force to take out Fort, and restrained her, taking her back to a secret location, while sending out a call for her other agents to return, giving Aiden and the others a chance to escape unnoticed.

Now that they had an actual Duke of Edom under their control, what were they to do next?

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Episode 62: In Vino Veritas

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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.

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Episode 61: I Hear You Like Dangerous Women

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October 17th, 2018 – October 21st, 2018

The knock at the door of the room of Illari Vassyl came as expected. But with Kat DeWein hiding in the bathroom and with Aiden Tobias and Pascal Lerue nearby there was little risk involved The team was confident they had this under control.

When Illari opened the door he was confronted with a woman who appeared ready for a late night romantic encounter, uttering the words, ‘I hear you like dangerous women.’ This was, most likely, supposed to be the trigger phrase that got Illari to fall under the hypnotic spell. He did not, thanks to Aiden’s conditioning. When she asked Illari for the Dracula Dossier, he tried to ambush her, an altercation broke out but before the team knew it, she was dead, as they used more lethal force than expected. A quick call to Mr. Trinn explained that she attacked them and her body was quietly removed. Clearly the attempt by Pearl was one they could well try again.

Mr. Trinn’s agents came for him and explained there was another death at the castle. Aiden followed to see what he could find. And he discovered that the situation was the same as a prior night. A husked body, with all air removed from the corpse. It was at this point that AIden decided to return to his room and research some of the texts they had to find any clues as to what was the cause of these mysterious deaths.

Returning to his room and conducting the research, Aiden poured over the texts and discovered the most likely danger they were dealing with was a Nenorocit, a form of undead that attacks in a spirit form. It was at this point that Aiden decided to use his latent psychic powers to see where the creature was resting, narrowing it down to the vault where the auction items had been stored and it was held in the very crate brought in by Countess Dolinz. Aiden made the risky decision to use hsi abilities to turn to mist form and try to destroy the creature by infiltrating the vault. Making his way into the vault, he then turned solid, finding where the creature was, and driving a stake through its heart. Seeing the spirits freed from this horrible monster filled him with a sense of purpose and accomplishment that helped in his mental and emotional state.

The team got some much needed rest after this but only for a couple of hours. They then went down to breakfast with Kat noticing that the castle’s staff was packing up Lord Cecil Delapole’s belongings, and putting him into a car, sending him off the premises. Kat then immediately called Sarah Hester, deciding she and her team needed to be made aware of Delapole’s sudden departure.

As the team began to settle in for the day, readying themselves for the day ahead. It was at that point that a shocking cataclysm took place: an earthquake began rumbling and the entire staff as well as the guests began to panic as they saw the mountain above them begin to crumble like a castle of sand. The sudden change of the landscape was mind-shattering and the team knew they had only moments to react and prepare for the worst.

Aiden was already in his room and Pascal was nearby. Illari and Kat made their way to their rooms to get their equipment and meet up with the others. Illari made sure to stop by and grab Matthew Sutherland and Adelaide LeClerque as he felt responsible for both of them and needed to make certain they were safe.

The earthquake led to an avalanche that hit the castle with such force that the walls did shake and cracks began to appear in the foundation. Staff and guests were in panic, the lights went out and it was the herald of the coming of Dracula. The team knew they had to move quickly or else they would be trapped at the castle and if Dracula arrived, this would be their tomb. To make matters worse, Aiden was slowly succumbing to the obsession and mental slavery to Countess Dolinz.

They made their way amid the chaos to the room of Colonel Kabeava. A dead bodyguard and a tossed room told them that Dolinz had already come. They immediately tried to find where the colonel had gone. They scoured the castle, eventually making their way to the fourth floor with a massive ballroom. It was here that they found the Countess on top of the Colonel, demanding the last of the Trinity Seals and with the Edom agents present. The team knew if they were to destroy the Countress and get the Trinity Seal, they had to act now.

The team went on the offensive, with Sutherland and LeClerque providing assistance. Most importantly, Aiden had to read Le Dragon Noir to cast the spell to destroy the Countess. The Countess quickly killed the top level Edom agents and in the confusion, the Colonel slipped away. The Countess was quickly aided by her loyal Renfield, Niles Graves as his brutally assaulted the team. Gunfire, strikes, blood and even the Spear of Longinus came into play as the team deal with a horrible onslaught from the vampire bride and her assistant. Despite the assault by Dolinz and the arcane energy she used, the team managed to buy Aiden enough time to cast the spell and destroy her. However, it was unclear if the serum provided by Sir Wilfred Corbin was aiding them or if the Countess’ powers were simply too much for them.

They then had to chase down The Colonel as they saw a helicopter fast approaching. The team suspected these were an Edom kill team, looking to evacuate the Dukes that had been killed. They caught up with the Colonel, killing him in the process, taking the Trinity Seal and escaping Schloss Karnstein. After catching their breath in the town below, they decided they need to make their way to Rome in order to meet up with Hopkins and see what she had to provide.

They felt they were closing in on their ultimate goal and could almost taste it . . .

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Episode 60: Thy Will Be Done

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October 17th, 2018 – October 19th, 2018

The mysterious death of one of the guests at Schloss Karnstein was quickly covered up as a simple heart attack by the fastidious Mr. Trinn. He did not want the guests alarmed at the unusual tragedy. However, Illari Vassyl was able to slip into the room and conduct a brief diagnosis first. He discovered that the victim had died from a lack of air; so deeply, in fact, that it was as he had been thrust into a vacuum seal and had everything removed, turning him into a grotesque husk. The connection that Illari made was this was a similar attack as the legendary incubus which, under the circumstances, could have been a vampire all along, conflating the legends.

He immediately returned to Matthew Sutherland, Hopkins’ boyfriend and GCHQ analyst, telling him to find what he could on Mr. Trinn as well as Colonel Kabeava. Then he went off to find Kat DeWein and Aiden Tobias.

Meanwhile Kat had found Aiden who was not in good shape after his strange night with Countess Dolinz. He was hungover and on the verge of committing suicide over the attack from the countess, perhaps bringing him closer to the shackles of undeath. But his stomach sank when he realized that he had possession of the group’s most important assets. He raced to see where they were because if they had been taken, they were doomed. he was relieved to find they were still safe. But how did the seduction of the Countess not compromise them?

Then it came to him: prior to the Countess seducing him with her magic and her bite, he had buried many important thoughts deep in his subconscious. He had saved the team with his psychic powers. When Kat entered the scene, she was immediately made aware of the situation by merely looking at him and his neck, with the horrible gash made from the vampire.

Pascal Lerue and Illari arrived and they all had to decide on a course of action. First, it was determined that Aiden having all the assets was far too dangerous. They immediately split the items up and had a few items in each person’s possession. Next, they had to see what could be done about Aiden. Fortunately, he was not turning into a vampire or a Renfield. At least, not yet. The bad news, however, was that he would be developing an addition to her blood. The only way to break the addiction would be to destroy her. This trip to the Alps would be far more dangerous than first suspected.

They split up, leaving Aiden to recover as the rest of them needed to prepare for the first auction scheduled for the night. Kat attempted to look for Lord Cecil Delapole but could not find him. Of course, she could also not locate Countess Dolinz or her manservant, Niles Graves. It was likely they were all somewhere together. Of course, Aiden took the opportunity to use his power of turning into mist to see if this was something he could control or make more use out of.

As Illari began moving through the hotel, he encountered Raj Devi, the individual suspected to be the Duke, Pearl. They had a brief conversation but something happened. Either Pearl used some kind of hypnotic trick that scrambled Illari’s mind or some kind of magic that did the same. Either way, when Illari came around, he found himself in the hotel lounge. he immediately then realized the implications of Pearl’s trick and decided to seek out Adelaide LeClerque to ensure she was safe. But first he wanted to see what had happened to him.

He sought out Aiden and asked him to make use of his psychic gifts to see if Pearl had done anything. With Kat and Pascal assisting, Aiden uncovered what had happened. Pearl had managed to embed a hypnotic suggestion to Illari that would happen later that night. When the correct word was dropped, he would comply with the instructions. Aiden cancelled this order and they would deal with the issue later. Upon concluding the psychic test, he sought out LeClerque.

Upon finding her, he took her out for a walk on the resort’s grounds. He filled her in on the danger she was in, including some of the figures that were present and stated that things were far worse than he initially suspected as Dolinz or her agents were likely murdering people. Then he turned the conversation towards the auction. He asked her what she was buying or selling. Reluctantly, LeClerque explained that ever since the events from a few weeks when the agents of Dracula had come to Prauge, she was virtually bankrupt and needed capital to rebuild her empire. It was then that she revealed what she was selling that made Illari’s heart skip a beat: She was selling a dirty bomb. The bomb was not present but she was going to turn it over to some interested buyer. And since all of the individuals present were reprehensible individuals, this was bad, bad news, indeed.

That evening Illari and Kat attended the auction while Aiden and Pascal stayed in Aiden’s room to see what they could do about his condition. Of course, prior to splitting up, they all took some of Sir Wilfred Corbin’s serum in order to protect them from what they expected would be an altercation with one or more vampires.

Many of the items at the first night’s auction were of interest but none that were so pressing that they agents bid. They saw the following items:

  • Blood of Osama bin Laden
  • Lost artwork from ancient masters that were lost during the Nazi invasion
  • A copy of Le Dragon Noir (which they suspected to be a forgery)
  • Blood stained clothing of John F. Kennedy
  • Several sprigs of Vanderpool Garlic

After the auction, many of the participants retired for some high stakes poker in the lounge. Kat decided to get involved with this as well, but she played a long con on them, losing to them the first night in an effort to lull them into a false sense of security the subsequent evening. This was assisted by Countess Dolinz who noticed what Kat was doing and seemed to play along, seemingly enjoying the idea of someone pulling one over on the high rollers present.

For as enjoyable as the feeling was, the team knew that the following day would likely be anything but enjoyable . . .

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Episode 59: Ms Hopkins, I Presume

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October 15th, 2018 – October 16th, 2018

Staring down Helen Pierre-Rocher, alias Countess Dolinz, was quite a shock. But fortunately the team was confident that she had not made them. At least not yet anyway. After all the only encounter they had yet had with her was close to a year ago, at a distance, and several of those team members were dead or missing. So despite their hearts skipping a beat, they felt they had time. But her presence at Schloss Karnstein was a bad omen, indeed.

They were quickly saved by the appearance of Mr. Trinn, the overseer of the auction. Mr. Trinn, likely elbows deep in a variety of criminal enterprises, likely had known several of these individuals for some time, facilitating the purchase and sale of illicit, black market goods. But as new individuals came into the lounge, he casually commented to the team who they were. He explained to Illari Vassyl, Aiden Tobias and Pascal Lerue, who each individual was, without breaking any confidential relationships. (Kat DeWein, unfortunately, had taken ill with a bout of the stomach flu and was confined to her room.)

As the rest of the guests arrived, the team saw a variety of mysterious and unusual characters, but a few of the individuals that came through the doors were individuals whom they had actually previously encountered. Among the individuals who appeared were:

Helen Pierre-Rocher and her bodyguard, Niles Graves
Lord Cecil Delapole
Count Norcross, a young aristocrat
Karl Bonnaire, the nefarious assassin attached with Bichi National Bank
Norbert Westerly, an MI6 operative attached with the nefarious Circus
Adelaide LeClerque, criminal boss from Prague, but who owed the team a favor
Paul Brookstone an investment banker and his associate, Raj Devi
Colonel Kabeava, the mysterious seller of Russian artifacts

Naturally, there were others who had arrived but they remained mostly out of sight and did not bring themselves to the lounge.

As Illari and Aiden made through way through the lounge, encountering as many of the criminals and criminally-leaning individuals as they could, Illari managed to have a brief conversation with Countess Dolinz/Helen Pierre-Rocher, where something he said, could have gotten her attention in a negative way. He was unsure whether she made him as a foe or if she just seemed on edge. Both Illari and Aiden took time to use their excellent backgrounds in espionage and secrecy to observe some of their potential enemies.

Aiden made a point to focus on Raj Devi, the associate of Mr. Brookstone. What he discovered is that Raj carried himself as a thief, someone scoping out every corner of the room as well as casing the others. More than a thief, Aiden determined, Raj was an exceptional thief. This caused Aiden to make the connection that perhaps this was more than an exception thief, but perhaps was the legendary Pearl, Duke of Edom. He certainly fit the profile that they had assembled on him. But what did that mean for Brookstone? Was he another Duke? Osprey? Oakes? Elvis?

Meanwhile, Illari spent his time watching Count Norcross and was able to notice a number of things about him. First, whereas he seemed to come from ‘good breeding,’ the man was no aristocrat. He was a fraud and barely able to keep it together, committing several faux pas. Illari decided that this weakness was something he would exploit and pulled the man aside, and out onto the deck for a nice view of the mountains, as well as a smoke. Using his expert interrogation skills and his powers of perception, he quickly discovered that Norcross was a member of the intelligence community, but was an analyst with GCHQ. He confessed that he came to the Schloss, looking for the Trinity Seals in what was, apparently, an ill-advised mission. But the person he worked with, another GCHQ analyst whom he was sweet on, was helping him even though she did not want him coming. Even though he was a fraud, he seemed aware of the implications of Dracula as well as his curse throughout Europe. But it was unclear exactly who Count Norcross was working with and whether or not he was, as he said, on the side of angles.

Their conversation was interrupted as Countess Dolinz and Lord Delapole made their way onto the expansive deck, flashing a glance back at Illari. Was she up to something? Did she know about his activities? The Countess was certainly getting into his mind.

But he continued to press Norcross, hoping for answers. Eventually Norcross broke down and put him it contact with his associate, the woman, via text. It was clear that the woman knew a lot about what was going on and eventually put Illari to a test, with the code cypher being tied to the Dracula Dossier itself. At first Illari suspected he was dealing with Hound, one of the Dukes, but then he realized who he was really dealing with – Hopkins! This was the most Hopkins had revealed until now, with all of them assuming Hopkins was likely an older man. But now they discovered, if what was being said was true, Hopkins was a younger woman. Under the circumstances, this necessitated a deeper conversation so the team went back to their rooms to have a more extended conversation, still via text.

Upon returning to the rooms, Aiden noticed that there were magnetic locks associated with the doors, meaning that someone could instantly seal everyone in their rooms (or out of them) if need be. While this was disturbing, it was something Aiden examined while the team communicated with Hopkins.

Hopkins revealed that Count Norcross, (whose real name was Matthew Sutherland) was a guy she worked with and he was kind of a boyfriend, kind of not (it was complicated but he was much sweeter on her than she on him, but she did feel responsible for him). He had this wild idea to come to this clandestine meeting in Switzerland, posing as an English Count. Knowing she could not stop him, she set him up as best as she could with fake papers and a large electronic bank account. When Hopkins discovered that the team was after the same thing she was, she agreed they should obviously work together on this. As long as they kept Sutherland safe, she would let them use the money she had set aside from him in the auction.

She went on to explain that things were getting hotter back in England. People were not only looking for them but the heat was getting to her, as well, and there were people in GCHQ that were loyal to Edom, Dracula or both. She would only have a few more days left before she was burned and would have to go on the run. (At this point, Illari began setting up an escape route for her, paving a way to the Vatican, using his contacts with Society of St Lazarus of Bethany.)

During the conversation, Hopkins again reiterated the danger that was all round and the noose that was tightening. But she had made friends and allies in various places in the past year. Edom was, in all likelihood, whether they knew it or not, completely under control of Dracula and were merely extensions of him at this point.

But Hopkins had other important details to share.

First, she had done enough research on the Trinity Seals in the past few months that she was able to clearly identify which ones were real and which one was a fraud. However, she suspect that due to the actors all roaming around Schloss Karnstein, all likely looking for the final one, this was likely a real one. She would have to identify them in person, though. This was something she was willing to do once she was able to meet the rest of the team in the next few weeks.

She also revealed that there was a way to perhaps get an ‘earthquake machine’ as well as someone who could control it. Unfortunately, the person was Dr. Henry Loughlin, who had been picked up by MI5 and Edom about a year ago and was currently sitting in a CIA black site location outside of Bucharest, likely under the control of Lou Mangiotti and Adam Cylinski. In order for a machine to work, they would have to raid the CIA’s secret location and escape with Loghlin, and his wife, Jo Loughlin. Not an easy task but the rewards would reap dividends.

Finally, she had some interesting news on the phrase ‘The Dead Travel Fast,’ which held greater implications than first suspected. It seemed to be a phrase used, translated from Russian, by the Czar’s secret police, KGB and now the FSB and other agents within Russia. The implications were that it seemed to be part of a Russian secret code rooted in mysticism. However, the greater implications seemed to be that there was a connection to vampirism, but that was something the team would have to investigate further.

The session ended with Hopkins begging them to keep Sutherland safe and no matter what happened, to make sure they kept him with them as he was in way, way over his head.

The team put Norcross AKA Southerland, in his hotel room and ensured he stayed there while they went back to the common rooms to see what they could uncover. Many were playing high stakes poker which attracted Lerue to keep an eye on them, while Aiden and Illari approached the Countess as well as LeClerque, who were enjoying drinks in the bar. Illari separated LeClerque from the scene to bring her in one what was going on, warning her that she was again associating with vampires. Further he wanted her help in putting up a block against the other forces at Schloss Karnstein. However, while he had LeClerque away, the Countess made her move on Aiden.

Something about Aiden, possibly his pyschic energy, attracted her like a moth to flame. Without Lerue or Illari around, she was able to detect his energy and seduce him, spiriting him back to her room and making unholy love to him while taking him to her window and flying into the cold night’s sky before biting him and taking his energy. He was in a daze but sensed that she was casting some kind of spell on the castle below.

In the morning he awoke in his own room but sensed weakness in his body and soul, unsure whether to keep this from his associates. But the entire castle was abuzz with the sudden death of one of the individuals in the castle, a buyer who had been sucked dry, all the air forcibly pulled from his lungs and his body almost collapsed from the inside out.

Whatever the Countess was planning, it had only just begun!

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Episode 58: The Delapole Affair

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October 6th, 2018 – October 14th, 2018

Prior to leaving Marseilles, Aiden Tobias continued his research into Le Dragon Noir. There were still secrets to be found and he was hellbent on uncovering them. For the team knew this was a powerful weapon in their fight against Dracula. But the book continued to take a toll on his sanity and mental well-being. But as fate would have it, luck was on his side and his educational background paid off in the form of unlocking the special ritual that the book contained. Now they had access to some kind of geological magic that could counter not only vampires but Dracula, himself. Further, references were made to a Vordenburg Diary, another item that may have some aid within.

However, the delay could not take up too much of their precious time as Pascal Lerue reminded them. They had to quickly move to Montreux, Switzerland and act upon the information provided to them by Odessa a few days prior. An auction, of sorts, was being conducted where the mysterious Colonel Kabeava would be unloading the last of the Trinity Seals. So the team quickly made their way to Montreux which was hosting an annual beer and wine festival.

Upon arriving in Monterux, the team followed the instructions Odessa had given them. They were to check in to a specific hotel, using the covers they had established linking them to Henri Valant, and speak to the manager about having specific flowers sent up to their rooms. The manager would then make arrangements to have a car come for them in a couple of days, taking them up the mountain to Schloss Karnstein. It was there they would stay for a few days as the auction was underway. They would get the opportunity to make whatever deals they could conduct with the mysterious Colonel.

Not content with sitting through the next day or two, the team decided to scope the area. Naturally, various intelligence agencies likely had some kind of a presence here, especially if such dangerous and notorious figures would be present to conduct illicit transactions. But the team wanted to know specifics and who they were dealing with. As a result, Aiden and Kat DeWein posed as husband and wife, moving through the festival with Illari Vassyl trailing behind them, seeing if they could spot agents or danger. Lerue stayed in the room, coordinating further efforts.

During their exploration, they noticed some suspicious activity, including an Axel Logistics truck that was in the area. However, any investigation was cut short when Illari was approached by a mysterious agent who led him, by knife-point, behind a beer tent and into the back of a truck where he came face to face with Sarah Hester of the CIA as well as some of her operatives. It was clear she wanted to talk and was willing to use force to set up the conversation.

They discussed tangential matters through an icy conversation but it did not take long for Aiden and Kat to double beck, detect the ruse Hester had set up and gain access to the truck. It was then that the reason for Hester’s involvement became much more clear.

She wanted to know what they had been doing in London, chiefly their reason and involvement with Luther von Heiss and the theft of his Spear of Longinus. Obviously, this caused agent Tyler Gold, who was present, a great deal of embarrassment. Hester revealed that things in the CIA London office had become stressed as the events surrounding that had led to COS Eloise Buckley becoming for less trustworthy and paranoid about her agents. Through the conversation, the team could tell that Hester was on the outside, looking in, trying to get back into Buckley’s good graces. What they could not determine with any sense of accuracy was whether Buckley was shoving Hester out due to Buckley having something to hide from her agents or Hester being truly untrustworthy and potentially working for Edom or other sinister forces. The shadowy politics of the CIA was showing its ugly side.

However, Hester did suggest that she had the potential to be friendly with the agents and felt that they, as a group, could work together. DeWein was, it seemed, skeptical of the partnership, recalling many of the somewhat rambling and obsessive notes taken by the late Cal Morrison in the past year. Whereas Hester and DeWein did not seem to hit it off well, Hester did, at least, explain herself.

Hester stated that she ran the best CIA operations in Europe and as a result, had agents everywhere and had access to resources, often at short notice. Illari confirmed this by telling the team how he had gotten them out of a tight spot some months ago by evacuating them from the top of a Cathedral in Amsterdam. In return, they would fill her in on some of their operations, especially how it related to the Dracula Dossier and the activities they were undertaking, in addition to dealing with projects that came up she needed doing.

Specifically, one particular operation that was needed was surveillance on one Lord Cecil Delapole. Delapole would be attending the same auction they were attending at Schloss Karnstein. As his jacket explained, Delapole had his own unusual past.

In 1997, while attending a church ceremony, Delapole attacked Princess Diana, near fatally. It took several bodyguards to fend him off and restrain him. He was, of course, exiled and the entire affair covered up. Nevertheless, Diana was dead several months later. Subsequent to his exile, Lord Delapole went to France and set up a successful vineyard. The ensuring investigation from MI5 and the CIA suggested that there was a ‘mysterious foreign woman’ he had been spending time with prior to the incident. The woman, later identified as ‘Helen Pierre-Rocher’ was unable to be found, even with the many ties of the agencies involved. But the one unusual thing found was a note on Delapole’s person after the attack that read ‘He will not let this go’ and no explanation was ever provided as Delapole had no knowledge of the note.

Agreeing to help Hester, at least on a conditional basis, the team went back to the hotel where the manager stated the car would be arriving for them shortly. The car arrived and took them up the mountain to Schloss Karnstein where they were assigned their rooms. However, at the cocktail hour where they were be introduced to some of the other individuals at the auction, they were shocked to find one of the guests, a Helen Pierre-Rocher who was, in reality, someone they recognized – Countess Margo Dolinz, a bride of Dracula!

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Episode 57: Make England Great Again

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October 1st, 2018 – October 5th, 2018

It was time to get closer to the Trinity Seals and unfortunately, the only individual who had knowledge of where they were was Elizabeth Bathory. But she was a deadly individual to get close to, so it was decided that Pascal Lerue and Kat DeWein would set up a meeting with Bathory’s chief lieutenant, Henri Valant. Adien Tobias, fearful of getting close to vampire witches, decided to work with Illari Vassyl to keep an eye on things from the outside.

Going to the Vienna hotel where the Bathory organization was headquartered, they set up a meeting with Valant in order to see if any new information had been revealed about the final Trinity Seal. The meeting was brief and to the point. Much to the team’s relief, Valant did have some useful information to impart with regards to the final seal’s location.

As it turned out Valant revealed that there was a figure in Marseilles, France who may have further information on the Trinity Seals. A mysterious criminal figure named Odessa was a Ukrainian mobster who was, effectively, the French Connection for heroin distribution. His operation was brutal and effective and Valant suggested that his information stated that he was in recent contact with the final Seal. But Odessa was secretive and rarely granted meetings. But fortunately, as it turned out, Tobias had his own surprise – he was familiar with one of the top figures in the organization, Emilie Rudyk. It was she whom he would have to leverage in order to get a meeting.

The plan was to connect with Rudyk and suggest that they were allied with Valant. They would then claim they desired to expand into Marseilles with the human trafficking ring backed by Valant and Bathory. Hopefully, this would be a large enough temptation for money to bring Odessa out of the darkness and ask about his connection with the Trinity Seals.

Arriving in Marseilles, they quickly set up a meet with Rudyk. She was receptive, as she had a good past with Tobias and after some light pressure and temptation, she agreed to set up a meeting with Odessa the following day but she would send a car for him. Of course, this came with a warning – Odessa was not an individual with whom to be trifled. He would allow no foolishness or disrespect. Tobias agreed and stated he would be ready the next day when she sent for him.

That evening, when the entire group met back up at the hotel, Kat was ambushed in her room by a grotesque vampire, clearly in the service of Graf Orlok, demanding the return of Le Dragon Noir. Kat’s life was quickly in serious jeopardy from the creature as it attacked with fury, fortunately, missing a potentially lethal bite. However, when Tobias broke into the hallway with a powerful arclight, the creature was ill prepared for such an attack. As quickly as it started, the fight was over. Curiously, when they investigated, they determined that the vampire must have entered the room through a faucet in the bathroom, confirming the further strange powers of these creatures.

The team wasted no time in getting out of the hotel and switching locations. But it would only be so long before the creatures could attack again. They would have to move out of the city soon. But the plan went well, they could be on the move again by late the following day.

In the morning, as promised, Rudyk contacted Tobias and sent a car for him. But they decided to bring Kat along, as well, hoping that the cartel would not be spooked by the affair. It was a chance they were willing to take as Kat was going to pose as the decision-maker for the Valant organization.

Upon arriving at their destination, a small French coffee shop, the entire area was filled with underlings and bodyguards of the Odessa organization, including Rudyk. In short order, after it was clear they were safe and had come in good faith, Odessa revealed himself, an older man who seemed more like a professor than a cartel boss. He was a larger-than-life personality who proved to have an interest in their deal of expanding into human trafficking. The team had to swallow their revulsion and pretend to move along with the scheme as it was the subsequent conversation they were after.

At the conclusion of the criminal deal, Kat broached the topic of the final Trinity Seal. Odessa confessed that he was familiar with it and that a dissident Russian colonel named Kabeava, had approached him a few weeks ago. The colonel had stolen it from the Russian People’s Museum (as well as several other artifacts) and was trying to sell it to some buyers. Whereas Odessa had declined the offer, he did send him to a location where eccentric and wealthy buyers participated in secret illegal auctions. Odessa agreed to make the arrangements for the team to get invitations to the exclusive event. With that, the team took their leave.

The group left town to somewhere more remote as Aiden needed to continue his research into Le Dragon Noir. He did not have much more he needed to get through but the task was taking an emotional toll on him. The research into the text was taking an increasing psychological assault on his mind. But with the subsequent reading he was able to reveal more information.

First, it seemed that there was a long term plan Dracula had for England. His scheme, as listed out in the text, was to slowly subvert the top layers of Victorian England society and trickle down to create a massive undead empire, thus making him a great ruler of a powerful nation.

Second, the revelation of earthquakes were uncovered. It seemed that the earthquakes were direct results of Dracula’s expenditure of power. Whether it was drawing power form the dreaded Scholomance or the Scholomance drawing power from him, it was clearly a rupture of power from the use of Dracula’s sorcery.

Finally, there was more of a reveal regarding the secret location in England that had already been referenced. One of the locations that the agents had discovered was an unrevealed spot in England that seemed to have a black out. This spot was on one of the Ley Lines that Dracula seemed interested in. As it turned out, this was known as ‘Ring’ which seemed to be the ancestral home of the Holmwood family and may have a current connection to Lord Godalming. This was certainly something could prove to be useful in the weeks to come.

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Episode 56: Paper Dragon

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September 23rd, 2018 – September 30th, 2018

The team decided to lay low in Cardiff, after it was clear London was too hot, crawling with various agents after the events at the home of Luther von Heiss. But they had the Spear of Longinus, an important artifact that they would be able to use to defeat Dracula. But Cardiff was not going to be a vacation as the team had jobs to do, with their top priority being the whereabouts of Castle Dracula.

Aidan Tobias set out on trying to uncover the secrets that were locked within Le Dragon Noir. It was a difficult, ongoing task, filled with increasing risks but also filled with the potential of a major pay off if the secrets could be unlocked. Tobias first learned that the text was filled with various geomantic theories and some precise research into ley lines, specifically a formula that showed the importance of Carfax Abbey to Dracula. Additionally, there were locations that seemed to be linked to Carfax, such as a location in Surrey, outside of London that was not on the map as well as a location not far from the abbey, The Dunwich Clinic, a hospital specializing in the study of blood. This lead him back to an initial figure early on in the investigation, a geologist named Dr. Henry Loughlin, who was also interested in ley lines but who had been scooped up by Edom and had disappeared. Most importantly, however, was Tobias seemingly unlocking a single spell that he now knew, the ability to turn his body into mist for a short time.

Meanwhile Illari Vassyl decided that a discreet phone call to Bishop Jean-Baptiste Champavier was in order. Since the Bishop was the leader of the Society of St Lazarus of Bethany, it was he whom upon the team was relying to produce an ancient cross as well as provide information. Vassyl explained that they had encountered von Heiss and whereas it was clear the Bishop had no knowledge of von Heiss’ involvement in the conspiracy, he agreed to look into the matter. However, as to the cross, the Bishop was, the following day, headed to Rome in order to secure the artifact.

For her part, Kat DeWein began researching possible locations for Castle Dracula. After dismissing a variety of popular locations that were essentially tourist traps, she knew that the real location was likely somewhere far more shrouded in darkness and secrecy. But she was getting nowhere. Then she stumbled across some notes in the group’s files, the existence of a so-called ‘Dracuologist,’ a history professor named Dr. Mehmet Lucasi. Lucasi was faculty at the London School of Economics and was not only an expert in Dracula, but was also a noted television personality. But was there more than met the eye with the professor? Could he possibly be an innocent or was his connection to their subject something more sinister? Looking into his background as well as any intelligence jackets he may have had revealed that he was on an MI5 watch list as well as seemed to have a deeper connection with the CIA in some capacity. Further, the professor was involved in oil money, taking large commissions from groups like Exxon for his research into historical sites in Romania, near major potential oil facilities.

It was then that Kat devised a plan. While Tobias continued to investigate Le Dragon Noir, she and Illari put together a scheme to see if they could learn more from the professor. Their multi-pronged plan involved contacting the professor at a reception and seeing if he would agree to an interview with one of Kat’s covers, a journalist from CNN. They used their connections with Lord Blakeford Caldwell to set up an interview studio and would question the professor and see what he had to say. They set up took several days, as well as some concerted efforts at flirting, but in the end, they were able to reel the professor in.

After setting up the interview and using Lord Caldwell’s people to make the makeshift studio seem real, Kat was able to turn on enough charm to convince the professor to invite her back to his apartment in London. The two shared an expensive bottle of champaigne while Illari waited outside. After getting the professor drunk and sleeping with him, she called Illari up and the two of them began to search his office. They eventually found a variety of secret papers, payments from Exxon and so on. But most importantly, there were maps of Romania. Knowing they could not discern the information here, they made the bold risk of simply taking the entire cache of papers. They slipped out and made the trip back to Cardiff.

Enlisting Tobias’ help, the group began pouring over the documents and maps. They discovered a pattern with what the professor was working on. Seeing the chain of payments linked back to Martin Creasey, an executive with Exxon, it did not take long to link Creasey to the greater conspiracy. Creasey was clearly a CIA officer and was Lucasi’s handler. Lucasi was working on important research for the CIA, hoping to pinpoint the location of Dracula’s castle and perhaps trying to scoop the important details to bring them on equal footing with Edom. If the CIA could get their hands on, or eliminate, Dracula this would provide important leverage over their counterparts. Lucasi was clearly a far more important part of the operation than even initially expected.

Further, it seemed that Dr. Lucasi had made some thin connections with Dracula and Jack the Ripper, as well as the possibility of Renfield still being alive. But most importantly, he had identified, to the best of his knowledge, the true identity of Dracula, Vlad III (1431-1478). This, of course, led him to identifying the true castle of Dracula, specifically, Castle Craciuna in Romania.

Based upon this cache of information, the team decided to make their way back to London and scoop up Dr. Lucasi for more information. Now realizing he was a bigger wheel in the operation than initially expected, they came to his street, to find the area crawling with London Metro police. Turning on the radio and police band, they discovered Lucasi had been murdered in his home and individuals meeting the descriptions of Illari and Kat were ‘persons of interest’ in the investigation. They knew it was time – yet again – to leave London and get their hands on the last of the Trinity Seals. But for that, they would need to deal with Elizabeth Bathory, an individual whom they were most certainly not looking forward to seeing again.

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Episode 55: Just the Tip

September 15th, 2018 – September 22nd, 2018

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After the events surrounding stealing Le Dragon Noir from the sinister Graf Orlok in the Passau region in Germany, the team was bloody, beaten and frightened. They determined that the best place for them to gain solace was making their way to the Dominican Monastery in Spain. The brothers there would welcome them with open arms and would protect them from the outside world. Of course, for some of them, merely reading the text would be a dangerous endeavor they would undertake that could be far worse than any physical threat. But Aiden Tobias was up for the challenge.

Upon arriving, the team discussed Kat DeWein’s idea of setting up an auction for an item that would draw out some of the more sinister and suspicious players on the field. However, after going through the logistics, they decided that whereas this was an excellent idea, they would really need to put a little more work into the theory as well as use it when they were getting close to executing their end game. The auction was a scheme they would be able to use once. And using it now may not net them the benefit they were hoping for.

While Aiden was preparing to spend time with Le Dragon Noir, the team received a visitor, Pascal Lerue. LeRue came bearing important information. He had been in contact with Arnbjorg Strand, the elusive burglar, who had provided him with useful information regarding the Spear of Destiny, or Spear of Longinus. And his dossier on the topic led them to understand that the item was in the possession of billionaire businessman, Luther von Heiss.

Looking into him, they recalled that Wolfgang Fectner had been investigating von Heiss for the purchase of Nazi memorabilia, but now it seemed he was a collector of a specific religious artifact. Looking deeper, they discovered he was also an avowed atheist with numerous connections to like-minded organizations and figures, such as Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens. Further, von Heiss seemed to have no wife and no interest in women, leading them to suspect there could have been darker interests he hid. Either way, it was important that they get into his London home and try and steal the object as it would have great value in fighting against Dracula. Fortunately for them, he was hosting an exclusive art party at his home. Burt first, Aiden was going to begin researching Le Dragon Noir.

When Aiden began to read the text, he felt a wave of dread come crashing down, learning the basics. First he found that the text did contain spells but they were some complex, it was unlikely he would be able to cast them without having the book on his person. He also found that this text was likely the very book that Dracula used at the dreaded Scholomance as Dracula’s own handwriting was present in the book, a shocking but interesting revelation. Finally, the portion he was able to get through revealed that the text would show a certain way to destroy a vampire regardless of their lineage. Of course, it was assumed that Dracula, himself, was immune, but nevertheless, the ritual would have extreme value. But he had to cut his study short, as the team had to head to London to attempt to gain control of the Spear of Destiny.

The team assembled their plan, with Pascal and Kat acting as an art dealer and his date, while Aiden and Illari Vassyl managed to get in as the catering team. They suspected they could cause enough of a distraction to send someone down to the basement where von Heiss kept his notorious treasures.

However, shortly after arriving, they discovered a further complication. First, CIA agent, Tyler Gold was present, clearly ‘on the job’ and there was also the added complication of several thugs in the employ of Bichi National Bank. Clearly, the groups were looking for something and under the circumstances, it was likely the Spear of Destiny. They would need to adjust their plan.

The newly formed plan seemed to revolve around shutting off lights and hoping the Bichi agents would do something foolish, perhaps further distracting Agent Gold. As soon as Illari hit the light breakers, Aiden slipped to the basement through the dumbwaiter and Kat and Pascal watched as one of the Bichi agents seemed to begin casting a spell, resulting in Agent Gold shooting him dead. In the chaotic distraction that ensued, Aiden was able to move further on the plan. As Aiden made his way to the basement, he discovered laser tripwires, criss-crossing the hallway preventing easy access to what he was seeking. Thinking quickly, however, he managed to use his mobile device to infiltrate the electronic security system of the home and shut the lasers down for a short amount of time. He progressed his way through and eventually came across a surprising sight – an underground Catholic chapel which was not only fully functional but also well used. It was unusual for an avowed atheist to have such a thing. It was not until he saw the religious vestments that he suspected that perhaps von Heiss was an undercover agent – a Catholic priest in a well-placed position to infiltrate organizations otherwise unwilling to deal with a priest. Either way, he had no time to consider that, presently. His attention quickly turned to the wall, where the Spear was mounted high up. He used the only tools he could to remove it from the wall – a pair of candle snuffers that brought it down. However, upon leaving, he discovered that the light trap had come back on, requiring him to move through the mess with agility and skill. Once getting through, he took the dumbwaiter to the second floor and made his escape through the forest while the others dealt with the arriving security and police force.

After dealing with the police and seeing the Bichi agents and Agent Gold detained by the police, the team made their way out and reconnected with Aiden.

With the Spear of Destiny, they now had more options in dealing with Dracula.

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