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.