Act1: Dreaming of Worse Days
The investigation began with a series of dreams experienced by the various members of the Vatican City SAVE Office. In some cases these dreams were shared, in others they were experienced individually. Not every member of the group experienced these dreams, in fact Father Fletcher, Luca and Tomas did not have any experience with them at all.
Oliver, Liberty, Agostino and Gerard all shared all or part of a dream. in this dream Oliver was consuming Liberty’s liver, while she was still alive. During this dream, Gerard experienced a sort of premonition of events to come, and Agostino and Gerard joined the dream already being experienced by Oliver and Liberty.
The dream culminated in a series of strange events each seemingly capable of destroying the library. These included a flood of water, damaged electrical cords and also a natural gas leak. These latter events always seemed to take on a quality of accidental misfortune, being a result of some other event rather than the cause of anything specifically triggered to destroy the library.
The arrival of Piero Adessi was foreseen in this shared dream and it was believed that Gerards ability at Premonition may have been responsible for the addition of this series of events being added into the shared dream experience.
In another dream, Lodewijk experienced a sense of loneliness, at the university, where he encountered a visage of his drowned father. The dream included the existence of a tentacled creature reminiscent of an octopus climbing out of his mouth and also appearing squirming it’s way from his father’s body.
In the case of Agostino, his dream involved being drug across a street by a bloodthirsty crowd. he was then bound to a stale and burned alive.
In each case, the individuals experiencing the dreams awoke depleted and exhausted by their experiences.
Act 2: The Premonition Realized
Not long after the dreams ended, a frantic pounding on the door drew the attention of those at the Library of Esoteric Studies. Upon answering the door, the group encountered Piero Adessi covered in blood and badly weakened.
He collapsed after saying a single word, ”Jade.” In his pocket was found a matchbook for the Jade Palace, a Chinese Jazz Club located in the city.
Concerned, the envoys decided to visit the Rome SAVE Office to determine the fate of the envoys assigned there.
Act 3: The Rome SAVE Office
As some of the members of the group were not at the Library, Liberty contacted Father Fletcher and Tomas who were attending Mass nearby to advise them that there was an investigation. She then called Lodewijk and Sven to let them know that there was an investigation and that the group was heading to the Rome Office to further the investigation.
Arriving first at the site, Oliver, Agostino, and Gerard found the building oddly quiet. Arriving at the front door, it became obvious that someone had used an automatic weapon to blow apart the locking mechanism to the front door. Inside the group divided into groups.
Gerard and Agostino discovered the body of Dr. Domenico Fabbri located behind the desk of his office. His his body had been riddle with bullets. Gerard decided to search the body and found a key with an unusual symbol on the ring.
This symbol was identified by Agostino as belonging to a group known as the The Illuminated. This group is an obscure one, dedicated to the worship of the Old Ones, specifically through their intermediaries the Illuminated One The Illuminated One is an Outsider. The members of this group drink the blood from this outsider as a means of showing devotion and as a means to gain power.
This information made the members of the Vatican Office wonder what the status of the Rome SAVE Office actually was. The fact that both groups were operating in the same city, with very little contact between them, has now become more suspicious.
Using the Key that Gerard located on the body, he opened a desk drawer, revealing a small wooden box. Using the same key, he managed to also open the box now removed from the drawer. opening the box, he revealed a series of four glass vials, three of which were full of a strange glowing green liquid. The fourth was empty. Also in the box was a spinning gyroscopic top.
Meanwhile, Oliver had investigated the kitchen, finding two throwing knives belonging to Piero. He then moved into the garage. In the garage, he discovered that the doors were smashed outwards. Chips of black paint were found embedded in the fragments of the door.
Following the path of the destruction, Oliver discovered a black 1934 cabriolet sedan located roughly 80-yards away from the smashed door. Despite the lack of presence of any barrier, evidence suggested that the car had struck something rigid enough to tote the vehicle. The car was smashed so badly that the driver, Lorenzo Dioli was killed in the impact. Oliver searched the body and located a matchbook for the Jade palace in the driver’s pocket.
Liberty, Tomas and Fletcher arrived at about this time. Fletcher and Tomas decided to search for the basement of the building, while Liberty joined Oliver at the car. A brief search of the vehicle revealed nothing additional and Liberty and Oliver returned to the office with the others.
Tomas and Fletcher attempted to gain access to the basement, but were unable to do so. Looking for keys to the lock, Fletcher returned upstairs, while Tomas waited at the gate.
Around this time, Sven and Lodewijk arrived, separately, and joined in the search. Lodewijk searched the upstairs rooms, but found nothing. Sven joined the others in the office and those there began to speculate on what had happened. Oliver pointed out that the phone lines had been cut outside, and elaborated on the car and what was found in the kitchen.
liberty using her Psychometry, learned some details about the events that took place at the site. This included the information that the assailants on the clubhouse were Asian. Coupled with the matchbooks found on the bodies, indicate the path that the group must take next.
Act 4: It came from the Box
Around the time that everyone agreed that the next course of action was to visit the Jade palace, the gyroscope stopped spinning. At that moments, an explosion of energy was triggered, engulfing the evidence, throwing the group against the wall of the office.
A moment later, at the apex of the explosion, a rift opened. It was a black disc, and it began to draw everyone towards it’s center. As the members of the group struggled to escape the collapsing explosion, things graduated from bad to worse.
Reaching out of the massive opening, a field of bone-tipped tentacles, studded with eyes and hooks reached out into the room, revealing the presence of an Obrigoth.
As the creature threatened to consume the group, Oliver, knowing that the portal may well not stop opening, and hoping to perhaps close the rift, cut his throat and offered himself up as sacrifice. The creature’s tentacles found him and ripped him to shreds insuring his death.
his sacrifice was not in vain however, as the portal began to close, leaving the others t run to a safe distance. As soon as the portal collapsed, the building was consumed in the blast. Only a perfectly smooth crater measuring a diameter of 40-meters remained as a testament to the events that had transpired.
Act 5: Oliver gone?
The group, shocked by Oliver’s unexpected sacrifice made their way back to the Library, where they contemplated the situation that they faced. never a group to accept the inevitability of death, borne from the experience of hundreds of case files, the group began to discuss the various ideas on how to restore him back to life.
Remembering that he had a favor available for use granted by the Fae Theron, Tomas entertained the idea of calling on the far to restore Oliver. However, as dealing with a Fae is always a dangerous and uncertain endeavor, there was hesitation especially since it was well known that the Fae often twist agreements as far as possible without breaking them.
In the discussion it was mentioned that the Sword of the Cross, Fidelacchius possessed the ability to resurrect the dead, however with its theft that was no longer an option, although discussion was made on attempting to convince Theron to summon the sword rather than personally restoring Oliver.
Eventually it was recalled that the group had recently provided a service for the Archangel Raziel, and that he could conceivably be summoned from the floor of the Athenaeum Arcana, as had been done by the Brotherhood of Iron.
The question only remained whether they could convince the Archangel to assist them. Before they could make the request, however, they had to gain access to the Atheneum.
To that end, it was decided that Liberty and Lodewijk should approach Cardinal Incenzio Montenegro Prelate of the Vatican Secret Archives to gain permission. Although hesitant at first, liberty and Lodewijk managed to gain his permission and headed down into the Atheneum.
Act 6: Resurrection Anybody?
Once in the Atheneum, Liberty performed the summoning ritual which called the Archangel to them. Upon Arrival, the Archangel was understanding and compassionate, but advised that he was not permitted to break the rules. He explained that he was not permitted to resurrect anyone, and that his rules were inviolate, especially ”The Rule of Reciprocity.”
Picking up on the hint suggested by the Archangel, Liberty and Lodewijk invoked the Rule of reciprocity and the Archangel was quick to adhere to the rule.
Asked for a container and a blade, Liberty cleaned out one of her compact kits, and Lodewijk provided a knife. Using the blade the Archangel split his wrist, bleeding into the newly emptied compact. Healing nearly instantly, Raziel explained that all that was required was a vessel large enough to contain a fully restored Oliver, and a piece of his corpse.
At first dismayed by this, as Oliver’s Corpse was consumed by the creature at the Rome SAVE Office building, the Archangel suggested that even a discarded hair could do the job. Knowing that Oliver shaved daily and that they were likely to acquire a piece of a shaved beard to use, the pair left filled with hope.
Having acquired the beard shards from the razor in Oliver’s apartment, Liberty and Lodewijk traveled to one of the many housing construction sites that liberty owned in the city. There they found a dirty bathing tub.
The poured the beard shavings into the tub and then added the Archangel’s blood to the mix. Within moments Oliver’s body began to reform. Within minutes Oliver was restored, although he only possessed memories which ended at the time he had shaved his beard that morning.
Quickly Lodewijk visited a nearby homeless shelter to acquire some clothes for the newly reformed Oliver, while Liberty brought him up to speed on the current investigation.
The three then returned to the Library, with a fully restored and significantly different Oliver.
Act 7: The Jade Palace
Once Oliver was restored, the group decided to make their way to the Jade Palace. The building was located at the back of a Chinese Apothecary shop, and access was gained by using the matchbooks recovered from the body of the dead SAVE Envoy.
Gaining access to the speak easy was simple, again utilizing the matchbook as a physical form of password. There the group settled into a table where they ordered some drinks and began to take in the atmosphere.
After some time, an attempt at further observation was undertaken both by Sven and Brigit as well as by Agostino and Liberty, using the dance floor as a means of facilitating their movements.
Agostino attempted to investigate one of the Foo Dog statues at the corner o the stage but could get nothing from them. The presence of some trigrams on the dance floor were noted, but no one knew what they represented.
After some time, Leonardo Bonomo, one of the Rome SAVE Office envoys was brought into the main room, where he sat down with Boss Fang, who was believed to be the local leader of the Chinese triads in the area.
After a brief and seemingly unpleasant exchange, the Envoy was led away into the back. Liberty, noticing his presence, used her ability to question the location and determined that all three of the missing Envoys were here at the club.
Still uncertain what they could do, as the nature of the threat they faced was still unknown, the group decided to divide and attempt to gather additional intelligence.
To these ends, Sven, Brigit, Tomas and Oliver inquired and were shown downstairs to the gambling halls. There they placed bets on a die game, rat baiting matches and some blood sports. However, there was little actual intelligence to acquire here, so they returned to the dance hall above.
Meanwhile, Lodewijk, Agostino, Fletcher and Gerard remained upstairs, observing the situation above. again, however, other than the apparent connection to possible triad forces in the area, little additional information was to be found. The men, were however, propositioned to participate in some friendly companionship.
Upon returning to the dancehall and the table, the group was approached by an individual who indicated that the Boss wished to see them. Realizing that this may be the opportunity that needed to gather intelligence, the group managed to arrange a peaceful Parlay to insure their safety.
The were then taken into the heart of the building.
Act 8: Empress Wu
The group was show into the throne room where Empress Wu, the head of the Jade Court oversaw their affairs. As a signatory to the Unseelie Accords, The safety of the Envoys from SAVE was guaranteed. Interestingly enough, both Agostino and Lodewijk were asked if they wished to claim special status. They declined.
The Empress decreed that the Envoys should speak first.
Act 9: Before the Empress
Liberty was placed in charge of the discussion with the Empress due to her social skills. As a result she did most of the talking. She explained that they were there to recover the three missing envoys and wanted to know why they were being held.
The Empress explained that the group had stolen some of her Chi and that this had caused her great anger. In retaliation they had attacked the office and had captured three Envoys.
The Chi was seen earlier by the group although they did not know what it was at at the time. It had turned purple due to taint caused by mixing the chi with Outsider blood. The vials had been destroyed by the Veil Mine.
A deal was struck whereby the stolen amount of Chi would be recovered for the Empress and the in exchange the Envoys would be released unharmed. Additionally the group negotiated a four-day window to gather the needed Chi and during this time the captured envoys would not be fed upon by the Jade court.
The deal struck, attention turned to the Denarii, who to their consternation were told that they must make their plea before the SAVE Envoys just as the Envoys had done before them. The Denarii did not like this, but capitulated only when threatened with expulsion.
They then went on to claim that they had a right to cause SAVE Envoys harm, as they had earlier in the year destroyed an honorary member of the Denarii at the Vatican. The individual claimed was none other than Edo. They declared Fletcher a mortal enemy as he had once been a member of the Knights of the Cross and demanded his head.
Unhappy at being dictated to, the Empress denied them this ability but called for a Convocation of the Signatories to meet to discuss Denarii claims. Temporarily mollified, but not happily so, the Denarii departed, and the Envoys set out to complete their quest. They knew that the amount of Chi required would be equal to a a few hundred people, and needed to figure out a way to acquire it.
They retired for the night, to allow everyone a chance to think on it.
Act 10: A Gruesome Revelation
Intrigued by the jade courts interest in a “Special Status”, Lodewijk decided that he needed to discuss things with his mother in more detail. Already suspecting that something was amiss, although not identifiably so, he had many questions to ask.
Arriving home, Lodweijk found his mother making Fish stew. He confronted her, explaining that he needed to know several answers. At first his mother attempted to avoid answering them, but lodweijk’s persistence eventually wore thinly upon her patience and she relented.
Biting him on the hand, she released whatever final bit of his humanity remained. He immediately transformed into a hideous creature, and fled in disgust after being told that he needed to consume unbaptized, young children, form this point onwards.
Arriving at the Library of Esoteric Studies, Lodewijk was beside himself. Unable to tell anyone what he was directly, due to the fact that his ancestry makes him a signatory of the Accords, he was forced to relay some details that he knew so that the group could figure out how to help him.
Even with this, information was exceptionally sparse and it was decided that some members were not to be told about the event, mostly Luca and Tomas.
Agostino was responsible for creating special wards around Lodewijk’s room at the library to prevent him for harming anyone or leaving. This was especially important because Lodewijk had already demonstrated the ability to sway others using only his voice. Now dealing with two major challenges, the group had two tasks to figure out.
Act 11: The Body on the Vatican Grounds
The following morning, Tomas and Dante Margolis were called out to the scene of a grisly murder. The body of a young girl was found killed and partially gnawed upon in the northern portion of the papal Gardens by a passing priest.
The priest swore he saw a giant Octopus move away from the body and climb over the Leonine Wall. This was the first hint of a supernatural connection. The presence of strange tracks consistent with a creature of this type, although massive, were also found. In the child’s thigh a human tooth was embedded also.
The clothing was tracked to a nearby Lutheran Orphanage, where it was reported that three children in total, including the now dead girl had been taken.
Tomas went to the Library to inform the others.
Act 12: The Creepy Man
oliver, returning to the library from his home found himself feeling uneasy. Upon arriving at the Vatican gates, he spotted a creepy looking man, wearing a long coat and a puritan style hat. The man disappeared into the fog, making Oliver’s suspicions and concerns more realized.
Act 13: The Hall of Cardinals
Meanwhile, Liberty was in her office, where she had received a painting of cardinal Agostino Selletti. She was in the process of Authenticating it, when Agostino, drawn by some inexplicable force arrived at her office.
She attempted to get him to come clean about his past, detailing that she knew his identity and that she had a strong suspicion of the events that had taken place to get him where he was presently. She even commented on his affiliations with the Old ones and an Outsider.
Agostino attempted to downplay everything, failing to confirm anything, but repeatedly warning Liberty to stop meddling in his past. At about this time, a messenger arrived at the office, advising Liberty that the Coffin and body with grave goods for the Cardinal had been received in the shipping warehouse and were available for her at any time.
Wishing to drive her point home, Liberty and Agostino made their way down to the warehouse, where they opened the sarcophagus, revealing the perfectly preserved body of the man in the painting. The same man whose spirit was inside the copy of Tomas currently, Agostino Selletti.
The two then parted ways although they both ended up back at the Library.
Act 14: The Body Revealed
Tomas revealed the details of his investigation and case, including his discoveries to the group. The group showed interest, but those familiar with the situation that Lodewijk was in, did not indicate that he was in any way connected, despite the presence of a handwritten note found in the child’s body addressed “Love Mom.”
As a result, Lodewijk and Oliver visited Lodewijk’s home where it was discovered that Eddie Vorgenberg was actually missing a tooth. it was therefore unclear whether Eddie was involved, manipulated or if the situation was coincidental. Unable to confront his mother at that time, the two returned to the Library.
Act 15: The Ars Medievalis
Determined to acquire more information concerning Lodewijk’s condition, Liberty, Lodewijk, Oliver and Agostino took a trip to the Ars Medievalis. There they sought out any information that they could find on what Lodewijk may be.
Agostino was permitted access to the rare books vault. This required a significant blood sacrifice on his part, but the vault contained many ancient books, most exceptionally powerful. Therein, Agostino discovered the story and identification of Lodewijk’s Ancestors, the Athanteen. He also uncovered the nature of the curse afflicting Lodewijk.
He revealed this information to the group and it was suggested that perhaps Oliver’s Scroll of Divine Purification acquired in Kemet, may offer a solution. However the nature of the affliction was less curse-like and more incidental as a form of corruption and so it was deemed unlikely to be effective.
Better educated the group returned to the Library to discover that Fletcher and Luca had no idea who they were; the library was teeming with visitors looking into the books, and the creepy man that Oliver had seen prior was the apparent cause of it all.
The group divided to remove people from the library, or to jog memories, of those forgetful, but to no avail. Finally Agostino had a discussion with the being, whom he knew instinctively to be an Outsider, the same one he had made a deal with to gain his apparent immortality.
Agostino was forced to strike another deal, giving away a powerful artifact to the creature. in return he would leave things unaltered and restore the two afflicted Envoys. Once he left, however, it was discovered that the wards used to protect the building were gone, and Luca was forced to begin replenishing them to secure the Library.
Act 16: A solution presents itself
While discussing how they could fulfill their obligation to the jade court, the group tossed around ideas ranging from turning over Archer and Company (If they could be found), to sacrificing some powerful creature (unspoken meaning directed towards Lodewijk or his mother), or some other alternative.
Fletcher then remembered that there was a Troll, locked in the basement of Sven’s house. As a near immortal creature, the troll would meet all the needs. Research had determined that Ash would could contain the creature, and so a large shipment of Ashwood lumber was brought to Sven’s house and an enclosed causeway built lined with the ash wood.
Even then, Lodewik and Agostino wen t down the causeway, which backed to a similarly kind trailer of a box truck to release and hopefully entice the troll to the truck, perhaps using compassion to calm him forcibly.
However, it was discovered that the troll was immune to compulsion and nearly killed Lodewijk.
With Difficulty, the Troll was forced into the truck and captured. It was then driven to the Jade Palace, where it was delivered to the Jade court as promised.
The Envoys were released, and they joined the Vatican Office once they were formed that the prior office was not real.