Thou Shalt Not
h4. Act 1: Happenstance Chooses a Victim
The episode began with the brutal attack upon a homeless veteran named David Wilmoore. Several street tuffs were seen kicking and punching him in a darkened alleyway somewhere in the city of Rome. As a distant siren sounded, the tuffs ran for fear of arrest.
Meanwhile Wilmoore, near death, noticed a pulsing glow hidden beneath the rubbish in the alley that seemed to all to him. Despite the pain, he reached out and uncovered a small teardrop shaped stone that pulsed with a deep purple light. He grasped it just as the police arrived. an unseen energy erupted from him shattering the lights on the police car, in the handheld flashlights and around the immediate area, allowing the man to escape undetected.
Act 2: Down with Nazis
At 8:00am on March 19th a shrapnel bomb detonated directly in front of the Nazi Embassy in Rome. The explosive was contained in the trunk of a car owned by the Metropolitan Zoo of Rome. It was a TNT bomb, wrapped in iron curtain rod ends, designed to maximize damage. The explosion killed 38 people, injured over 120 and damaged several buildings in the immediate area, including the Nazi Embassy, the Swedish Embassy and several small businesses. It severed the phone lines to both embassies, although the Germans would have their phones restored fairly quickly thanks to the abilities of their military engineers stationed in the embassy.
Act 3: A Swift Arrest
Amazingly, the nazi embassy not only had a suspect, but had been provided the exact location of the suspect within minutes of the blast. With photographic evidence provided, the nazi ambassador dispatched Kapitan Oswald Weiss to make the arrest.
With the aid of the Italian government, Weiss traveled to the vatican, where he met with Captain Antorinno Descortes, head of the Papal Guard. Already ordered by Vatican officials to cooperate fully with the Nazi officer, Descartes called in his two senior most detectives, Tomas Gessner and Dante Margolis to conduct the arrest on Vatican Grounds.
Meanwhile with the word of the bombing spreading, classes at the University were cancelled, with Oliver Merbach and Lodewijk Van Beers becoming aware of the bombing due to the university’s proximity to the explosion. Further more, Liberty Rothe, being advised of a security risk at the Vatican, moved to a vantage point where she could more readily observe the chaos from a distance. This placed her in a position to witness the arrival of the papal guard and the nazi officer at the Library of Esoteric Studies. A quick phone call from liberty’s office provided enough warning that Gerard Filippani was bale to seek concealment just moments before the arresting officers arrived.
Oliver and Lodewijk had already arrived at the library and were present when the Nazi and his escort arrived. Bolstered by the cooperation of the vatican authorities, Weiss, immediately began searching for the “Dirty Jew”, the moniker by which he referred to Gerard.
Gerard hid in Agostino Selletti’s room in an attempt to avoid capture. Agostino performed a rushed invisibility ritual upon him to conceal his ally. however, Weiss arrived within moments and questioned Agostino vigorously. Unable to catch him in a lie, he sent Agostino down stairs to the library, where Dante was watching Father Fletcher, Oliver and Lodewijk.
Weiss eventually revealed Gerard, although by happenstance and not be design. Gerard was then arrested by the Nazi. Although Weiss wanted to also arrest Agostino, harboring a Jewish individual was not a crime in the Vatican and he was unable to force the issue. With prize in hand, Weiss transported Gerard to the Nazi Embassy in Rome for interrogation.
Act 4: At the Embassy
Gerard was power washed, dressed in a prisoners uniform bearing the Star of David, and tossed into a cell with a woman, similarly dressed. The woman turned out to be Augustina Derusse. She casually dropped the information that also held at the Embassy was a name named Edward Vorgenberg, a friend of Lodewijk van Beer’s that had been taken prisoner by Hans Brunner a month prior.
Recognizing the name, Gerard realized that there was a chance to rescue Eddie if he himself could manage to escape. Gerard was vigorously interrogated.
Act 5: The Escape
When Gerard was returning to his holding cell from his interrogation, Augustina, managed to help overpower the guard and the two prisoners quickly made their way through the damaged embassy to the motor pool. Despite being fired upon by the nazi soldiers at the embassy, the pair managed to steal a vehicle from the Nazi Embassy motor pool and race away at high speeds.
Pursued by two vehicles filled with Soldiers, Augustina, who was driving managed to break the pursuit by hiding in an alleyway and permitting the pursuing vehicles to pass them. Once the way was clear and it was certain that they were no longer being followed, Augustine drove the car to a normal looking apartment building.
The two disembarked from the car and went upstairs, where a “friend” of Augustina’s would be able to “assist” them. That friend provided Gerard with food, and a change of clothes. He then revealed himself to be Cyprus Archer. Archer informed Gerard that he was in possession of the Mesha Stele, which was needed to free Eddie from Nazi imprisonment. he also suggested that the Stele could be traded for his own exoneration as well.
However, in order for Archer to provide the Stele to Gerard, he required Gerard to bring him another item of importance to him, namely Brigit’s Ring, an inherited artifact of great age and Thaumaturgical value. Gerard was then free to go about his way. Upon departing he was provided with a gold coin and instructions to throw the coin into the Trevi Fountain and that upon doing so an envoy would be sent to make the exchange for the ring.
Act 6: At the Swedish Embassy
Gerard made contact with Sven Thofelt who had witnessed his escape from the Nazi Embassy. Using subterfuge, Sven snuck Gerard into the Swedish Embassy, where he was granted temporary Political asylum as a result of a statement provided by Tomas Gessner.
Sven notified the rest of the Vatican City SAVE Office Envoys that he was assisting Gerard and a meeting was arranged at Sven’s loft.
Gerard had already passed his information learned about Eddie, Hans and Archer to Sven, who was going to pass the information to the other envoys when they met.
Act 7: A Messiah Among Us?
The majority of the Envoys decided to attempt to investigate a possible lead connecting the Mesha Stele to the event. They had uncovered a shipping location which corresponded to a warehouse. With the involvement of Hans now evident, it was a lead they were willing to take.
However, upon arriving at the site, they discovered that the building had been hastily converted into a make shift triage station to assist in attending to those injured by the explosion earlier that day.
This prevented the gathering of any information concerning the distant Stele, but the group did uncover a different point of interest. They discovered the presence of a man, later identified as David Wilmoore, moving about the wounded, trailing a small group of followers, performing what appeared to be miraculous healing of the injured. after questioning the individual, the group could not determine any harm being done, but noted that the supernatural aspect of the events were well within the groups purview to investigate. At the scene, Liberty overheard some of the followers imply that the bombing was somehow related to the appearance of this Messiah.
Act 8: Lockdown
A call to the Library of Esoteric Studies revealed that the vatican authorities had closed all the gates to the city, due to the threat of rioting caused by the bombing. This left father fletcher in the Vatican only able to provide a supporting role to the envoys in the field.
Act 9: The Blood Eagle
Upon arriving at Sven’s loft, it was quickly discovered that some great conflict had taken place. There were broken windows and furniture. Blood was scattered everywhere, and at the top of the stairs, pinned to the landing wall was Donar Krigare, blood-eagled.
The grisly scene was even worse when a search of the location could not locate Sven’s family, wife, Brigit, or sons Lars or Bjorn. There was also no sign of their nanny, Onima Tachibana. Its as presumed that they escaped. Interestingly enough, it was also discovered that the Thofelt’s had a captured Troll in their basement.
When confronted by this fact, Sven did not consider this unusual nor was he surprised by it. Some detective work indicated that the Thofelt’s may have retreated to the Hotel Gambrinus.
Act 10: The Hotel
Sven and the others headed to the Hotel Gambrinius, to assess the situation concerning Brigit and Sven’s children. Upon their arrival they discovered her well and mostly unharmed. She gave a description of a number of people attacking the house. She provided an account of their escape and how Donar had stayed behind to hold the attackers off while they escaped harm.
Sven revealed that Archer desired Brigit’s Ring in exchange for the Mesha Stele which would free Eddie and save Gerard. Without hesitation, she went to her room, and brought back the ring, split in half. She gave the halves to gerard, so he could make the exchange for the Stele.
Act 11: The Quarry
Liberty, determined that she may be able to make a passable forgery of the Stele by using the rubbings provided by Oliver. In order to facilitate this, she traveled to the quarry used by Eternal Rest, to attempt the forgery.
After hours of painstaking work Liberty had created a striking piece that could have easily passed for the original. She was unaware that the original was constructed of compacted fired clay, as she had constructed her forgery from granite.
Act 12: The Trevi Fountain Exchange
Oliver, Lodewijk, Gerard and Tomas traveled to the Trevi Fountain and Square, where Gerard disembarked the Murta and made this way to the fountain. Once there, he produced the gold coin and tossed it into the fountain. immediately he was wisked away into a pocket of the Never-Never.
Act 13: The Never-Never
Mortimer then made his exit.
Gerard managed to fend off the creatures with some difficulty, and upon reaching the Stele and removing it from it’s base, Gerard was returned to the real world ; arriving in the water basin of the Trevi Fountain.
Act 13: The Trevi Fountain Messiah
While Gerard was gone, a crowd began to gather at the Fountain square. Shortly after Gerard’s return, it became apparent that the man previously encountered in the warehouse, the self-proclaimed Messiah, was present and that the crowd was flocking to see him.
The Messiah transformed the waters of the fountain into wine, and the Envoys realized that something bad was underway.
Arranging for Gerard to sit on a tarp in the back of the Murta (he was soaked from his arrival in the fountain), Oliver and Lodewijk left Tomas to guard the vehicle while they investigated a strange looking man intently watching the gathering mob from a nearby balcony.
The two envoys made their way to the balcony, only to discover that their mystery man was now walking among the crowd. Not to be easily dissuaded, Oliver leapt from the balcony into the square to pursue the man, while Lodewijk stayed upon the fountain to allow hi to better guide Oliver to the misery man as he made his way through the crowd.
Meanwhile Tomas was accosted by a young child who declared him a heretic because he wore a crucifix around his neck. While this was odd, nothing came of the event, but it did illustrate the potential danger that the crowd represented.
Oliver reached the man and positioned himself directly in his path. Oliver attempted to speak with him, but the man simply stared at him. This went on for a few moments, as the crowd continued to gather, and became more restless.
Following a hunch that the man was in some way the cause of all of this, Oliver used his crowbar to “leg” the man, knocking him to the ground. Immediately the man’s appearance changed from a well dressed man into a semblance of a homeless man, and he cried out that he was being attacked. Immediately the nearby members of the crowd attempted to attack Oliver.
Lodewijk, from his vantage point, realizing the evolving danger, decided to attempt to use his Compulsion on members of the gathering crowd in an attempt to disperse them. His attempt was partially successful, buying Oliver critical minutes to reach the Murta.
Meanwhile, The tarp upon which Gerard sat, suddenly sprang teeth and attacked him. Gerard was able to fight his way out of the tag unharmed and discarded it outside the van.
The crowd meanwhile following Oliver, chased him to the Murta, placing those there at risk. Tomas was able to remove people from the open back door, to secure the van against unwanted entry.
As the crowd attacked the van, the vehicle began to be affected by a haywire effect; making getaway unlikely. With the crowd shattering windows on the van, Lodewijk realized he was separated from the others and pushed his way through the van to assist.
Meanwhile, Tomas used several disciplines to hinder the unknown attacking them. He attempted to stab the creature with an Empowered Strike but was thwarted by the movements of the crowd.
Lodewijk, however, was able to use his Sonic Bolts to disrupt the creature, which collapsed into a pile of clothes. Tomas acquired the walking cane, thinking it may be useful, and with the van now able to start, embarked once again.
Concerned that Oliver may harm innocent people persuaded by the creature, in their attempt to escape, Gerard left the safety of the van to much people out of the way pf the van. Once clear of the crowd, Oliver drove to the quarry to meet up with Liberty and Agostino.
Act 14: Testing the Stele
Agostino was able to test the Stele and determined it possessed magical properties. Additionally, Oliver was able to translate the ancient Sanskrit on the tablet and reveal the nature of the magic. It bore a curse that would transform the reader into a monster of some sort. Though he did not give any details on the nature of this creature, Oliver understood exactly what it meant.
Unable to duplicate the magic embedded within the Stele, all thoughts of sending the forgery were abandoned, although the quality of the forgery was of museum quality, and could potentially find use as an exhibit somewhere.
Liberty and Oliver each spoke with Father Fletcher by phone, where they provided information on the mystery creature encountered in the square, information on the stele, as well as received information concerning an emergency meeting of the Curia in the Vatican. Fletcher vowed to see what he could find in the archives about the creature and stele, and would convey it upon receiving a call back.
Act 15: Chez Oliver
With no way to return to the Vatican, save through a secret tunnel located somewhere near Castel Sant Angelo. The group of envoys decided to regroup at Oliver’s flat. There they discovered that oliver’s fiancee had been fired from her position at the university following a rejection of advanced made by the Dean of the University, although officially the reason was that her studies were too liberal and anti-fascist in nature.
While Elsa made dinner for her guests, father Fletcher called and relayed some information that he had uncovered from books located in the Athenaeum Arcana. He also updated the group on the latest situation facing the Vatican
First, the situation with the Vatican had now grown very critical. It was relayed that a mob of several hundred or perhaps even as many as one-thousand had gathered at the gates to the vatican. They were calling for the immediate dissolution of the Roman catholic Church as well as the abdication of the Holy Father himself. In response, the Vatican had convened an emergency Curia, as well as closed the doors to all churches, monasteries, hospitals, convents, and orphanages in the city of Rome. All Papal guards were placed on watch around the walls to deal with any interlopers, and the circumstances were being discussed among the cardinals.
In other news, Father Fletcher had managed to gain access to several ancient books located in the Atheneum. this allowed him to locate several obscure references to creature known throughout history as an Ingannatore (Italian), Izmamnik (Bulgarian), Prevarant (Bosnian), Bedrieger (Dutch), Podvodnik (Czech), Gazember (Hungarian), or Deceiver (English). It was his belief that the man in the suit that was encountered at the Trevi Square may be one of these creatures. He also identified a creature known as a Vilayet. The Vilayet is a creature of the Unknown and is mythologically connected to the Ingannatore, where they use their powers to maximum potential for chaos.
While Fletcher could not locate a means to destroy the Ingannatore, he was able to provide some advise on the means needed to destroy the Vilayet. However, with the creature near the gates of the Vatican, surrounded by fanatic followers, the difficulty of even reaching the Vilayet was exceptionally high. of course to make matters worse, with the Ingannatore nearby, the entire crowd became a massive weapon, capable of killing all the envoys without too much effort. The Envoys, however would need to have care to not harm innocent bystanders.
To help make matters more even, it was suggested that perhaps The 9 or maybe even the Rome SAVE Office could be of assistance. The Envoys mulled it over, while formulating their plan to rescue Eddie amidst the chaos developing outside.
Act 16: The Mesha Stele for Eddie and Exoneration
The group decided that the best place to make the exchange would be familiar ground. to that end, the group made their way to Edward’s gallery, where they discovered a terrible thing.
Not only had the Gallery been defaced with the words Juden seemingly painted upon the artifacts, the assistant, Helen, had been murdered. She had been hung in the back store room, and a Swastika had been carved into her body. The bulk of the artifacts stored in the locked cage had been stolen.
In an attempt to clean up the mess and normalize appearance somewhat, Agostino, thinking the material was paint, created a ritual that would draw “Like-to-like” removing the defacement from the artifacts in the chamber. He would learn that the substance originally believed to be paint, was in fact Helen’s blood. Her body broke itself free of it’s hanging and haphazardly joined the pile of blood and gore that had been scattered around the room.
Oliver used one of his Bodybags to hide the corpse of the slain woman, and Agostino used ritual magic to destroy all remaining evidence of the murder in the chamber. With the house cleaning finished, the group turned their attentions to making contact with Hans to arrange the exchange of the stele for Eddie.
Initially Gerard tried to make the call, but found himself so shaken by the scope of things that he was unable to make contact with Hans. Coming to the rescue, Oliver made contact with hans to arrange for the exchange, but the two could not agree upon a neutral location. Despite two attempts to negotiate or force a location an agreement was not forthcoming.
Act 17: Is it Frigid In here?
About twenty minutes after the final failed call, an Unseelie Fae calling himself Frigid arrived. The Fae gave the group an ultimatum, Turn over the Stele or die. He graciously offered the Envoys a few moments to ready themselves and to discuss their options.
The Envoys gave the Stele to Frigid and he brought an unharmed Edward back to the gallery in exchange.
Once completed and the Fae had left, Liberty contacted Kurt Heinrich Helck, a member of the Berlin SAVE Office, with information on the Stele. This information would allow the berlin Office to intercept the Stele before it reached Udo Von Liebstadt or Hans Brunner, making the exchange beneficial only to the Vatican City SAVE Envoys. Liberty’s smart thinking and quick action prevented a powerful artifact from falling into Nazi hands.
Act 18: Regroup and Plan
The group once again returned to Oliver’s apart meant with Sven making a short stop at the hotel to check on the status of his family. Likewise Lodewijk transported Edward Vorgenberg to his apartment where he remained with Lodewijk’s mother.
Once these brief asides were completed, the group then regrouped at Olivers Apartment to attempt to work out a plan of action to handle the Vilayet and the Deceiver.
Faced with the task of finding and dealing with a massive crowd gathering at the gates to the Vatican. The group realized that they may finally have encountered a situation that they were unable to deal with efficiently.
However, this would change with a the arrival of an unexpected guest.
Act 19: The Guest
In the middle of the discussion there was an unexpected knock on the door. Oliver looked through the peep-hole to see who was present. There standing in the hallway outside the apartment was a man of Indo-Aryan descent.
The man politely requested an audience with those assembled inside, and after a short conversation permission was granted.
Once inside the man revealed that he was a representative of a group, known as the Order of the Blackened Denarius and that he was the host to one of their member, Aggadah. He then showed the assembled parties the coin as proof of his words.
Despite the initial concerns, it became apparent that the group were in serious need of the assistance of the Denarii. He offered to pin-point the Deceiver and the Vilayet. He also stated that he could physically handle the Deceiver long enough for the group to remove the DawnShard from the host.
In return, the Denarii wished the possession of the Dawnshard, so that it could be handled in a manner that would prevent it from causing additional problems.
While under normal circumstances the word of a Denarii would not be trustworthy, this particular Denarii already had a reputation of fairness and honesty, which was unusual among his peers.
To achieve this, the group would need to create a means to disable at least a significant portion of the massive crowd in order to reach the Vilayet’s host. With an agreement to meet in one-hours time near the crowd, the Denarii parted company, leaving the SAVE Envoys to plan.
Act 20: The Plan
Realizing that they needed a means of dealing with a massive number of people without risk of death. The group posited the idea of using a crop duster to deliver an aerated sedative to the crowd. The Plan, however, collapsed when it was realized that they did not know a pilot. Desperate, Liberty contacted Father Fletcher to ask if he was capable of flying a plane. It turned out he could not. But when he was given a summary of the plan, he suggested a theater Fog machine.
Since Liberty and Lodewijk owned a theater, they quickly realized that it was completely within reach. However they discovered a difficulty in the plan, namely that the fog machine required AC Power. The Only option then, was to add a diesel generator to the plan to power the Fog machine.
Gerard would put together a list of chemicals needed to create the sedative fog. Knowing that some of the chemicals were at the Zoo, while the remainder could be found at a printshop. With a plan of action in place, the group divided into two to make the most of the time that had available to them.
Act 21: Theft
part of the group, consisting of Sven, Agostino, and Oliver were determined to go to the zoo for the purpose of acquiring the needed chemicals. After stealing a car, the group made their way to the zoo gates, where they broke into the grounds.
Once there, they moved through the area, searching for the veterinary facility. Once they located it, they gained access to the facility through the loading gate and side door.
In the interior store room, they located the two primary drugs that they needed for the sedative fog. After only a short while, they had located the needed drugs and loaded them, alongside a few unrelated items, into a truck.
From there, the group drove to the Gionali Italiani, where they purchased the final ingredient needed for the fog. Although they paid an exuberant price for it.They then moved back to the assembly point to await the others.
Act 22: The Infernal Contraption
Liberty, Lodewijk, Gerard and Tomas made their way to the Teatro Reale dell’Opera, which Liberty and Lodweijk owned. having called ahead, the prop crew had already pulled the fog machine and the generator. However, they quickly realized that there was some difficulty with the plan. The generator would not fit into the Murta. Liberty then told the crew to do whatever they needed to to make it work.
The crew set about with vigor. They cut the roof from the back portion of the Murta, stripped it’s interior, reinforced it’s suspension and mounted the generator in the back of the vehicle. They then mounted two fifty-gallon drums to the remaining portion of the roof of the Murta. This was used for fuel to run the generator.
The crew then added two axles to a trailer. They increased the suspension and added additional wheels to the trailer. To the trailer they added the fog machine, which they connected to the Murta and wired to the generator.
The addition of Lights rounded out the contraction, and the group drove the vehicle to the assembly point.
Act 23: Interruption
Oliver encountered Theron, who indicated to him that it was time to begin the ritual found on the Scroll of Divine Purification. Despite the need to assist with the crowd, Oliver also needed to participate in the ritual. In the end, it turned out to be a short delay, although it could have been much longer. Oliver was able to reach the assembly point on time.
Act 24: The Encounter
Once at the assembly point, Gerard mixed the chemicals. With Oliver behind the wheel, the group was prepared to assault the mob. True to his word Aggadah arrived and moved into the crowd to locate the two offenders.
After a few minutes, rays of light appeared from the sky, highlighting the two belligerents, and marking the start of the plan. Oliver drove the vehicle adjacent to the crowd, dispersing the gas into the crowd. After a few minutes, the gas had taken as much effect as it could.
Already the Denarii and the Deceiver were trading blows in the crowd. The others made their way towards the Vilayet, where they engaged the creature. The fight was difficult because the creature had already begun to transform into a stone-like creature.
The valkyrie recognized the threat that the Denarii posed, but it took a few moments for her to realize what the deceiver actually was. The brutal fight, saw several innocents killed, and it was only with the successful removal of the Dawnshard from the Vilayet, that the deceiver lost his focus and was defeated by the Valkyrie.
The Envoys had successfully managed to defeat the Vilayet, but it appeared as if the valkyrie was poised to harm their new ally. Only Fletchers late arrival prevented that eventuality.
It was revealed that the Valkyrie and Fletcher had history. The warden even mentioned that Martin you are not a Knight of the Cross any longer.
This relationship, however was enough to persuade the valkyrie to leave the Denarii in peace. Aggadah was given the Dawnshard, and the threat to the Vatican was abated. Despite all that had happened, the Envoys were not identifiable because of the gas masks that they wore to protect themselves from the gas they had used.
What the fallout would be from the events outside the vatican Gates were still unclear, but one thing was certain; there would be consequences.