Act 1: The Kidnappings
Our story began with the reports of a series of Brutal murders and a mass kidnapping from a local orphanage in Rome. The orphanage, Our Lady of Mercy, was attached sometime around midnight on April 3, 1936, by an unknown group. All 7 sisters of the Augustinian Order that were assigned here as caretakers were brutally murdered, in bizarre fashion, and 33 of the 34 orphans in those orphanage were kidnapped.
One orphan, a 9 years old girl named Aviana was found hiding in a locked closet under the main staircase. She was balling incoherently, apparently traumatized by what she had seen.
Act 2: The Reveal
Oliver and Lodewijk discovered the events had taken place through their respective classes. in each case, the details were the same and it was discovered that the story had been reported in the Ancien Regime, the local Metropolitan newspaper for the city of Rome.
Sven was introduced to a pair of Swedish citizens who were concerned because their newly adopted daughter was to become an official Swedish citizen the day after she was kidnapped and the new parents were beside themselves with grief. They requested official assistance from the Embassy, but due to the legalities, the Swedish government could not get involved. However, Sven managed to acquire permission from the Ambassador to investigate the situation personally on his own.
Liberty discovered the situation when a pair of priests informing the next of kin of the victims advised one of her co-workers that her sister had been killed.
Father Fletcher received a call from one of the Cardinals of the curia, who lost his younger sister in the attack.
Gerard heard it as gossip at his place of work.
Tomas, was assigned to the case unofficially, since the crime scene fell under the jurisdiction of the Rome Metropolitan Police.
Act 3: The Paris Connection
Father Fletcher had been told by the Cardinal that this kidnapping and murder of nuns was not unique. In fact, there had been three such events inside of a few days that had recently taken place in Paris.
Fletcher, using this information, attempted to make contact with the Paris SAVE Office and the leader of that office, Etienne Chirauld. All efforts to reach them were unsuccessful, so Fletcher, using an old contact of his from his short time as a Knight of the Cross, asked a priest from Notre Dame Cathedral to stop by the Paris SAVE Office and ask someone there to contact Fletcher.
The priest discovered the members of the office inside, dead. A strange thorny vine bearing red flowers with blackened edged petals had seemingly sprouted from their bodies. The priest had counted 8-bodies, which accounted for all eight of the SAVE Envoys assigned to that office. This was not good news.
Act 4: A Plan of Action
The members of the Vatican City SAVE Office gathered at the Library of Esoteric Studies and discussed the few known details of the case. Luca volunteered to make his way to the Paris office, to uncover whatever case the Envoys there had most recently been involved in, and to see to it that the Envoys were properly buried.
He would also do some investigation there to see if he could connect the events in Paris with the events in Rome.
Lodewijk, Sven and Gererad would attempt to gain entrance to the orphanage, which was currently under police scrutiny. The Police Inspector assigned to the case was Edouardo Di’Medici an acquaintance of Liberty’s, although this wasn’t yet known.
Agostino dressed himself as a Jacobian priest and went to the scene of the crime in an attempt to gain access to Father James Foley, the man who had discovered the gruesome murders.
Liberty was going to her office to make an inquiry to contact Edouardo Di’Medici, whom she had not yet learned was already on the case.
Father Fletcher was going to pull the records and information on the murdered nuns to see if there was anything that stood out to him as suspicious.
Oliver agreed to speak with Doctor Viktor Franken, at the morgue to see if he had received any of the bodies from the scene. He was disappointed to discover that they had not. Oliver arranged fro Doctor Franken to notify him if any of the bodies arrived.
Armed only with a name, Tomas was going to the records offices at the vatican to see if he could find any information on the child that had been found. His hope was to discover her location, so that he and perhaps someone else could question her about the events of the previous night.
Act 5: Gaining Access
Agostino arrived at the scene first and managed to talk himself into the building and a waiting room to await an opportunity to interview Father Foley. He was finally permitted to see the father, but was dismayed when he discovered that some of his interview was being overheard by the Chief Detective Inspector, who could apparently read lips.
Pulling the blinds, Agostino was able to temporarily gain some more private discussion with the father where he noted a few details from the father’s interview to be discussed with the others.
The second group to arrive was Sven, Lodewijk and Gerard. Lodewijk started a distraction by performing a dirge outside the orphanage, drawing the attention of those assembled spectators and the police guards, allowing Sven and Gerard to access the ref via a nearby building.
Gerard and Sven managed to get inside the building through a roof access hatch and ladder, which deposited them into a maintenance closet on the third floor. They weren’t able to ascertain much, however, due to the presence of some police attempting to free one of the corpses from behind a bookcase that had crushed her to death.
Act 6: Liberty on the Scene
Having uncovered the fact that Eduardo was already on scene, Liberty made her way to the orphanage to discuss things with him. She managed to convince the Chief detective Inspector to take his men and go down the street for coffee and some cigarettes for a short while. This would allow Liberty and the Others, including a newly arrived Oliver, to investigate the premises without interference.
The group discovered a few details that was most assuredly connected to the supernatural.
The discovery of a pad lock on the roof was an item of curiosity, but it was unclear how or why it was severed in the means it was.
Additionally, it was discovered that an area of roughly 1.5-feet around the bodies seemed to be indestructible. This fact explained why the police were unable to remove the bodies, but instead destroyed a number of tools they were using to make these attempts.
Water continued to flow into the bathroom sink, where one of the sisters was drowned, despite the fact that the water was cut off from the building at the street level. Likewise, the natural gas behaved similarly running to the oven in the kitchen.
When adding in the fact that no one could light any cigarettes on the property and that all milk based items spoiled immediately on entry to the property, the evidence pointed towards a form of thuamaturgy most closely associated with Witchcraft.
During the time that the group was there, the on-going affects that were in play, ended, restoring everything back to a more normalized state. With nothing else to be seen at the site, the Envoys departed at about the same time that the Police were returning from their smoke break.
Act 7: Reviewing the Clues
Upon the return of the group to the library, a dissemination of information began, that brought a number of uncertainties to the forefront of the discussion.
In general it was agreed that there was some level of thaumaturgy involved, although it seemed to be closer related to witchcraft, rather than the more traditional methods. There were a number of similarities and discrepancies between the observed events that it almost seemed to muddle the waters of the investigation significantly.
Looking into the history of the nuns killed at the Orphanage did not reveal any unusual clues or details, and with little other evidence to go on, the group began to expand their conjecture to other areas, where they may be able to acquire some additional information.
To these ends, Father Fletcher, would inquire on the identities of the orphanages that had been targeted in Paris. His efforts would be centered around determining a pattern if any existed, including any ley-line locations, mystical histories of the properties, or abnormal histories involving any of the staff or children present.
Sven and Lodewijk would travel to the Palatine Mission, a soup kitchen local to the orphanage. They are hoping to uncover some information that may reveal a pattern, or perhaps some other undocumented disappearances in the area.
Oliver and Gerard would visit the local elementary school, to see if they could determine if there were any sudden decreases in attendance that might be an indicator of another series of kidnappings. They would use a program of distributing zoo admittance tickets to the school to reward good academic attendance as a means to gauge potential notable attendance changes.
Meanwhile, Luca is still in Paris, further investigating the Paris office’s sudden demise, and attending to the arrangements for their proper burial.
Act 8: Investigating Magical Leads
Agostino traveled to make a clandestine meeting with Father Josef Beuhler, a secret member of the Venatori Umbrata. After establishing their appropriate identity, a discuss began that revealed a number of interesting details that were previously unknown to the Vatican City SAVE Office.
It was revealed that there were four prior SAVE offices that had already been destroyed. From first to most recent, they were, Mexico City, Mexico; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Casablanca, Morocco; and Pairs, France. It now appeared that The Vatican City SAVE Office was the fifth office targeted.
Agostino was provided information on the kidnappings that led up to the destruction of the SAVE Offices in question, as well as determining that even non-SAVE individuals had been killed in at least one of the events, although it is unclear whether those individuals were working with SAVE at the time.
The details seemed to confirm that 100 children were kidnapped in each event, and that only 1 child was left behind in each case. This led to speculation that the single child may well be a lure to bring the local SAVE offices into the view of those attacking them.
Agostino was also advised of the existence of a creature known as a Bound Abomination that may be involved in the events leading up to the destruction of the offices and their envoys.
After meeting with Beuhler, Agostino met with Piero Adessi and visited The 9 hoping to acquire additional information. There they met with Ivaro, who advised them that he had earlier encountered some sort of Spiritual Stasis Barrier at the perimeter of the property. Ivan was able to identify it and provide the information to Agostino.
Act 9: Interviewing the Sole Survivor
Tomas and Liberty had uncovered that Aviana had been committed in the Grace and Mercy Hospital, for her “obvious” mental issues. The two made their way there where they met with Director Evar Ramadi concerning their desire to meet with the girl.
The director was willing to assist and called in the girls doctor, Doctor Irina Gelino. As the two SAVE envoys and Doctor Gelino were heading to the doctor’s office, it became immediately apparent that the doctor had no intention of allowing the two to meet with the patient, instead she declared that she ould act as a “filter” for the interview, and cited the patient’s mental health as a factor.
Despite attempts by both Liberty and Tomas to change her mind, they were denied access to the patient. When threats to have the envoys removed by force were levied, the two envoys instead on speaking with the Director once again. Gelling was under the impression that the director would support her decision, but was mistaken to discover that this was not the case.
Instead, Director Ramadi, had her reassigned from the case, and arranged for himself to act as the consultant during the interview.
The interview took place in a suitable room near the patient’s room. The girl appeared somewhat cagey, and clung tightly to her Teddy bear, Happy. The interview revealed some details, but when the patient became erratic, the director was forced to call off the meeting.
However, during the return trip to the patient’s room, the girl dropped her teddy bear, which afforded liberty the opportunity to use her ability to question it.
Liberty discovered that there was a woman with multiple voices present. Agostino would later identify her as a type of Thaumaturgist known as a Soul Stealer. Liberty was also able to identify some unique ritualistic Kris blade daggers, which she believed were used to control the children. It was also revealed that the group used a anchored tear through the Veil to remove the children from the orphanage. The destination appeared to be a warehouse where a truck was waiting to transport the children further.
After divining the information available from the Teddy bear, Liberty and Tomas asked to see the personal effects brought in with the girl. There was a dressing gown and an odd necklace, later identified as a Gramatria, an exceptionally rare symbol that bound judaism, christianity and the Kabbalah into a unified symbolism. The symbol possessed a series of numbers, which father Fletcher was later able to decipher as meaning He denied I power to be sealed in death.
Act 10: Class Is In
Gerard and Oliver decided to attempt to determine the likelihood that other children had gone missing, or if the Orphanage was the only large-scale event known. They reasoned that if there were any significant disappearances of children in the city, that the trend would be visible in the schools scattered around the city.
To that effect they visited the elementary school closest to the Orphanage. There they met with Principal Alberto Marston, who was able to provide them with a significant amount of information that seemed to indicate that there were no other large-scale kidnappings in play currently. Providing the school with a series of tickets to the local Zoo, they insured that should that change, they would receive a phone call to that effect. Although they did not uncover any additional kidnappings, it did confirm that this was the first event in the city, setting them on a solid timetable, that when confirmed with Agostina’s information placed the destruction of the SAVE offices, exactly 5-days apart. They now had 4-days to go.
Act 11: Soup Anyone?
Sven and Lodewijk traveled to the Palatine Mission, a soup kitchen near the orphanage that had been attacked. there, the two separated, each looking for information from different sources.
Lodewijk slipped into the food line and struck up a conversation with some individuals that indicated that there was a general distrust of newcomers. While this was not necessarily unusual amongst the homeless population in the city, this distrust was greater than normal.
Lodewijk discovered that some one representing a company called Marcello di Carne Superiore had been attempting to recruit some workers. it seems that some of the workers never returned. this of course, piqued Lodewijk’s interest.
Lodewijk discovered that one worker, Barnaby Black, did, however, return. Lodewijk determined to attempt to gather additional information.
Approaching the self-proclaimed pirate, Lodewijk was able to make basic conversation with him. During the interview he learned that individual workers had been loaded into the back of a covered truck, so that they could not see where they were going. There was an armed guard in the bed of the true with the workers, and the work was the moving and burying of several chests whose contents were unknown.
Barnaby indicated he escaped when he realized it was likely that the workers were to be killed. True to his thoughts, they were and Barnaby narrowly escaped. He hid for several days, wandering in a strange daze until he eventually made it back to the soup kitchen.
Meanwhile, Sven made contact with the administrator, Father Stefano Decorte. An interview uncovered that a donor from the Marcello di Carne Superiore company had donated a significant amount of meat to the mission, but had later attempted to illicit payment for the donation in the form of workers. The establishment was resistant, and the company was compensated with cash arranged by the Roman Catholic Church. Thus, when Sven offered some assistance, he met with significant resistance. The father collaborated information gathered by Lodewijk, and this confirmation made the Marcello di Carne Superiore a point of interest, although it is unclear whether they are in any way connected to the kidnapping, or a separate event altogether.
Act 12: Dissemination of Information
The group reconvened once again at the Library, where they shared information and attempted to conjecture the next piece of information or event that they needed. With little to go on, it seemed that there was little choice but to wait for any additional attack to take place and hope that additional information would come to light.
Act 13: The Second Attack
That same morning the group were alerted by Detective Di’Medici that a second attack had taken place. The second event happened at the Saint Matthews Orphanage for Young Women and Children. The group rushed to the scene of the crime to discover Doctor Viktor Franken there acting as the Medical Examiner at the scene.
Much like the first event, a field of stasis was present creating difficulty in removing, examining or assessing the bodies of the nine nuns that had been killed in the attack. It was quickly discovered that there were thirty-three children that had been taken, with none left behind. With little to go on, the group made a startling discovery when Doctor Franken in an odd act, decided to perform an experiment using a moving dolly loaded with a number of batteries.
He moved forward, and attached the leads of the batteries to one of the victim, explaining that he was something of the student of electrical energy and he wished to conduct and experiment concerning lividity on the victim. Using Gerard as his side kick, whom he affectionately nicknamed, “Ivan”, he had Ivan throw the switch.
The resulting burst of electricity burst several of the light bulbs, and burned out the batteries, but managed to somehow free the body from it’s stasis. This breakthrough provided Agostino with an Epiphany.
Realizing that the effect preventing energy from operating only affected energy created on the site, Agostino realized that he could harness the ambient energy already present, to open the tear that the group transported the children through when they were kidnapped. Using tremendous focus, he tapped into that energy already present and refocused it to open the tear to lead them to the destination the children had been taken.
Act 14: Dislocation, Dat location
Using the power, Agostino did, in fact, manage to open a portal, but the amount of power he pulled was uncontrollable, so instead of just opening a portal large enough to allow he and the group to travel through, the tear was massive, sucking an entire city block through the tear and depositing it in the exact location to which the children had been taken.
Buildings and inanimate objects at both sites merged together as they were forced to occupy the same space for a few moments. the group, deposited right at the epicenter of the destination had only a few moments to glance around, before the universe corrected itself.
After only a moment the transplanted location snapped back to it’s original position, before all inanimate, non-living matter in the affected area disintegrated into ash. This left several people who had occupied apartments on the second floor free-falling to a bare ground below. Additionally everyone was nude, since the affect also destroyed clothing and equipment.
As a result the group made their way to the closest Monastery to acquire additional clothes and to borrow a car to return to the library. With the crime scene destroyed, the group could no longer collect any clues or evidence there.
Act 15: Rapid Recall
Between the things that the group noticed during their short jaunt to the destination site, they were able to narrow the possible location down to a very narrow area adjacent to the Tiber River, roughly 20-km north of the city. The site was an old Marcello di Carne Superiore meat processing plant. It had been defunct for at least five years, and with little information about it, the group decided to drive to the top on a nearby hill to see if they could spot the site from elevated ground.
Act 16: The Abattoir
Arriving on a nearby hill, the group was able to pinpoint the location that they had arrived in during the unplanned transplantation of the crime scene here. The group drove the Murta down to the site, uncovering the denuded portion of the site destroyed by the transport, but also discovering an adjacent building that had managed to avoid the affects.
This building would turn out to be the actual Abattoir used in the processing of meat products during the operations of the company. The group discovered the grisly remains of slaughtered children, and a strong indication that their skin had been harvested. It was impossible to determine the number of children present as the bodies had been dismembered and dropped into waste pits.
Further investigation revealed the prior presence of three Maleficent Cauldrons, used to collect the blood of the ritually slain children. The discovery of tire treads leading down a deserted road prompted further investigation. A sort distance down the recently used road, it was discovered that the path intersected with the main roadway. The mud trail indicated that they were on their way back to Rome.
Act 17: The Encounter
Oliver and Gerard headed back to the Murta, still parked at the site, with the intention of driving it up to the road and collecting the other members. However, things did not go as planned.
Once the two had embarked into the vehicle, there was a wild surge of electricity through the vehicle’s electrical system that shorted everything out. Looking up, they saw the Soul Stealer, preparing a spell. They escaped the Murta moments before a tree smashed the van into wreckage.
Using her power she animated several of the nearby trees to attack the two. meanwhile hearing the crash, the group rapidly made their way to the site, where they encountered Oliver entangled and fighting against some sort of carnivorous plants. With the Soul Stealer overseeing her impending victory.
The group attacked, saving Oliver, and revealing only a small fraction of the extent of the soul Stealer’s power. Catching her off-guard, they managed to temporarily overwhelm her, causing her to retreat. During the conflict they discovered that she could use Gaiamancy, Foculomancy, Vitaemancy and Loculomancy. Although outmatched by her sheer power, the surprise and ferocity of the attack against her, forced her retreat, although not before she was able to identify Lodewijk as an Athanteen, and Agostino as a Thaumaturge.
Act 18: More Bad News
Upon returning to the library, thanks to a ride received from Santi Nochese, the group were horrified to discover that a third kidnapping at taken place almost in unison with the second. This attack had taken place at Saint Anastasia’s Orphanage, where only a part of the children present were taken. This meant that the number of children needed for the ritual was acquired by the forces arrayed against them.
With no real idea where the group had retreated to, the party realized that they may well be too late to stop the ritual.
Desperate for information and assistance, the group decided to call upon those that they knew for assistance. It was time to call in favors.
Act 19: Mobilizing the Reserves
As part of the recruitment drive, Gerard used his communicative arts to make contact with the Hammer Brothers to ask for their assistance. They agreed and made their way to Rome. He also made contact with Luca, through Dea Murtas and advised Luca of the new timetable.
Meanwhile, Liberty and Oliver visited The 9, where they recruited Ivaro, Clymenestra and Belkino to the cause. The three were already marked as well, giving them a solid stake in the outcome of the coming conflict. Afterwards they decided to head to the Alchemist Gate in the Garden of Souls, in order to visit the Kemet to ask for assistance.
During this time, Agostino made contact with his contact at the Venatori Umbrata, Father Josef Beuhler, to acquire additional information concerning the foes that they faced. During the phone call, there were indications of a struggle, and Agostino decided to investigate. Taking a taxi to the site, he arrived at the chapel in time to watch the Soul Stealer consuming Josef. When he was noticed, she commented that Agostino would make an even twenty. She utilized Geomatromancy to remove obstacles in her path. Realizing Agostino had no chance to deal with her directly, he ripped a tear into the Never-Never to escape her. He quickly returned to the real world arriving at the Alchemist Gate, inadvertently joining Liberty and Oliver who were already there.
The three now prepared to open the way into Kemet, but were interrupted by Aegeus, one of the Pythia’s Spartan bodyguards. He advised that a terrible sandstorm was raging in Kemet and that the gate could not currently be opened. While Aegeus discussed Persian Magic with Oliver, indicating there was a way to restore him without the drawbacks associated with it, Liberty acquired a stone from near the Gate to interrogate using her Read object power. From this, she learned that a Quetzal, a group of Black Court Vampires and a Kemet delegation had all recently entered into the real world from Kemet. She learned that the Kemet were there for some sort of political conference. More importantly she learned of the existence of the Quetzal, and where he was located.
Agostino returned to the library, where he would undertake some preparations.
Liberty and Oliver went to the Bank of Mexico to make contact with the Quetzal in the hopes that he would assist them in some fashion. Upon their arrival they were taken deep beneath the bank to meet with Achcauhtlihuemaccoaxoachacoatl (leader-king of the serpent flower Snake), the Quetzal. After performing a rite of dedication and presenting him with exquisite gifts of cinnamon truffles and saffron, he heard their plea and offered them either knowledge or favor to aid them. After a brief discussion, the two chose favor, and as a result they were presented with a Gourd filled with a potent liquor that granted them limited invulnerability once used by Jaguar warriors. This concoction, known as Peytuli, would prove critical in their upcoming fight.
During this time, Tomas visited the armory at the Vatican to acquire a sniper rifle for the upcoming fight. Hoping to kill the Soul Stealer from a distance and hopefully avoid the death curse she may utter, he acquired a Springfield 1903 rifle. During a conversation with the armorer, Tomas was reminded that the armorer regularly outfitted Knights of the Cross. To the arsenal, he added three Antimony Throwing Dagger, a Shield Bracelet, and a Gas Censure. Better equipped, Tomas returned to the Library to await the final battle.
At around the same time, Lodewijk and Sven retrieved Brigit Thofelt and Onima Tachibana to aid them in the fight. They transported Lars Thofelt and Bjorn Thofelt to stay under the care of Elsa Merbach, until the battle was finished. Once the group was gathered together and the children delivered, the group made their way to Il Gato Nero.
They were unable to enter, however, as a special delegation was present and negotiating some agreement which had closed the club to general access. Later Liberty would be able to identify one of the parties as Kemet.
Leaving a message to make contact with the Venatori Umbrata, the group returned to the Library.
Act 20: Last Minute Research
The group agreed to one additional hour to attempt additional research. As a result Lodewijk and Agostino headed to the Ars Medievalis to see what they could uncover there. While Liberty contacted Detective Inspector Edouardo Di’Medici to advise him of the meat processing plant. During that conversation, it was revealed that the Marcello di Carne Superiore had also operated a distribution plant inside the city. The group had just found the most likely location for the ritual to take place.
At the Ars Medievalis, Agostino gained access to the vault where he interrogated the Spirit of Intellect at the vault and was directed to the Book of Madness to find the information he sought on the Bound Abomination. While unsuccessful in his search, he lost consciousness during the search, allowing the Spirit of Intellect to inhabit him and escape the Library.
At the same time Lodewijk discovered much about his past and his people, including a fact that made his mother less evil in his mind. As a result of this, Lodewijk and Agostino set out to visit Lodewijk’s mother Heidi Van Der Hoof, to reconcile things between them. In so doing both parties learned a great deal about their shared heritage.
Also during this time, Oliver advised Father Fletcher of his role involving the theft of the Sword of the Cross, Fidelacchius and it’s subsequent appropriation by Theron. At this same time, however, Oliver also advised Fletcher that Tomas and Lodewijk each possessed a debt from Theron and that perhaps such a debt could be called in in exchange for the sword. As Lodewijk was betrayed during the theft by Oliver, Fletcher thought it prudent to bring Tomas into the discussion to see if he would be willing to use his favor to recover the blade. Without elaborating on the events leading up to the blade’s theft, Fletcher managed to convince Tomas to expend his favor to Theron in exchange for the sword. With the sword now in hand, the group was now better equipped to deal with the threats that lay ahead of them.
Act 21: The Final Countdown
Armed with the most likely location for the final acts of the ritual, as well as bolstered by the addition of allies, the Envoys and their extended group made their way to the distribution center located in Rome. They took the last two Murtas remaining in the motor pool and made their way across town. They were joined by Luca Garige who had just arrived from Casablanca.
Upon arrival at the scene, the Hammer Brothers used a compulsion spell to compel the civilians in the immediate area to leave, in case the conflict spilled out into the neighborhood immediately surrounding the target building. Luca brought an entrapment prism with him to the conflict site, to create a self-contained battleground, from which the enemy should not be able to escape. This was an attempt to contain the Bound Abomination as well as the Soul Stealer in case of failure by those assembled.
Tomas conducted a quick reconnaissance of the buildings perimeter, noting that it was two stories and possessed a fire escape shielded from view. Ivaro, leaving his body in one of the Murtas parked a block and a half away, joined the group in his Astral form, and was able, with Clymenestra’s assistance to identify the alarm field surrounding the property. Armed with this knowledge, the group realized that once everything began, it would have to progress quickly, in order to avoid complications. The group sipped the Peytuli and prepared themselves for battle.
Act 22: Action!
The Hammer Brothers started the action by knocking down the door to the building, which immediately filler with nasty writhing spiked tentacles. These tentacles created a dangerous barrier, and unfortunately managed to entangle one of the brothers almost immediately and drag him into the building. His essence was consumed by the Soul Stealer and he was unable to be saved.
Tomas decided to climb the side of the building, entering through the second floor window and landing on the catwalk surrounding the central floor of the plant. Below him the Soul Stealer and dozens of cultists waited for the group to make their entry into the central room. At a room at the far end, upper level of the building was an office space which seemed to hum with unusual power. Tomas did not realize it at that time, but it was in this room that the Bound Abomination was actively performing the blood draining ritual that would spell their doom if completed.
Tomas opened fire on the Soul Stealer from above, but his rounds seemed to be ineffective. Meanwhile Lodewijk had compelled several of the cultists to run to the far side of the room in terror, reducing the number of enemies that they faced. Several cultists returned fire, forcing Tomas to utilize the Shield Bracelet, keeping him safe from harm.
Oliver, Liberty, Sven, Brigit, and Onima began to cut their way through the cultists standing between them and the Soul Stealer.
As the battle progressed the second hammer brother was consumed by the Soul Stealer, but from that moment onward, the tide of the battle began to turn against her. With coordinated attacks coming at her from multiple directions, she desperately attempted to impale her enemies using Earth magic. This instead, killed her cultists, making it even easier for the Envoys and their allies to bring the assault directly to her.
During the conflict, Agostino suffered catastrophic injury, which brought him to the edge of death. The Spirit of Intellect that had possessed him, attempted to use his body to reach the Soul Stealer, but even with some unexpected assistance from Oliver was unable to do so, when Oliver spiked both Agostino’s Body and the Soul Stealer (with assistance from Ivaro) with an Enchanted Stake.
It was about this time that Tomas used the gas Censure to shatter the window in the upstairs office, revealing the ritual underway by the Bound Abomination. With a warning to the others, some of the group shifted their attentions to hindering or stopping the ritual before it was too late.
Sven, using his Feat of Strength discipline, threw Clymenestra into the upstairs office from the ground floor. Using her Temporal Dilation abilities, she radically slowed time in the ritual room, giving the group a significant edge in mobility and action to facilitate handling the Abomination. Her impact with the creature sent them both through the brick outer wall, but she was able to “Skip” backwards to prevent herself from falling.
This temporarily disrupted the ritual, but did not stop it. Tomas attempted to overturn the cauldrons, but could not do so, but discovered that the ritual would begin to drain blood from anyone touching them, which threatened to complete the ritual. Belkino, transforming into a giant Anaconda, engulfed the remaining children in his coils and extradited them from the ritual room, taking them to the opposite side of the building.
Meanwhile the battle with the Soul Stealer raged, forcing her to utilize Metamancy to aid in her protection. Assuming a mantle of steel, she became incredibly resilient to injury, until Fletcher produced Fidelacchius and beheaded her with it. Although this did not kill her, it did allow Oliver to take the head to a corner and turn it away from the group so it could not see what was happening, effectively neutralizing her as an immediate threat.
In the meantime, the Bound Abomination had re-entered the room and was headed back towards the ritual area, unaware that the three remaining children used in the ritual were no longer present there. A number of attacks proved ineffective against the creature, but eventually, Fletcher was able to slay it with the Sword of the Cross; ending any threat it continued to possess.
Act 23: Aftermath
Sven, Tomas and Lodewijk utilized their arts to assist in the group’s after battle recovery from injury, stamina loss and willpower drain. Once that was completed, Agostino and Oliver jointly requested that Luca utilize electricity to see if the Soul Stealer would revert back to flesh. This was a two-fold purpose. First a pint of Thaumaturge’s blood was needed to aid in the restoration of Oliver’s abilities. Secondly, Agostino wanted to consume the Soul Stealer’s heart in order to absorb her power and the power of those she had already absorbed.
Despite his best efforts, however, Luca was unable to revert her to her normal form. The Prism spell was cancelled, Ivaro was guided back to his body, and the Soul Stealer and her head were loaded in to different Murtas for the ride to the Castel Sant Angelo, where Fletcher convinced The Warden to incarcerate the Soul Stealer indefinitely.
With the destruction of the Bound Abomination, the Sigil of the Mark Bearer faded away and the cycle of death was broken. Agostino agreed to provide Oliver with the blood he required for his ritual, and the police were able to claim limited success in closing the case, when they were pointed to the remains of the cultists, and the three surviving children from the kidnappings.
The Cauldrons were emptied and returned to their respective owners, returning the balance in the conflict to normal.