"This self styled Prometheus thinks I fail to see through his thinly veiled bid to cast himself lord of this mortal realm. Bah, like his namesake he thinks he brings the fire of free will to mankind. Damnation in the guise of salvation as the enemies of man's soul march lockstep and heretical. He'll have his army of lost souls for his mechanical abominations, as long as it serves my purpose. But when the end of days arrive, it will be my army not his that wins the field."
..."What do you mean the ship is missing?"
- Snippets of conversation heard through the door in the hotel. The man's voice sounds familiar to CJ from his future past.
The VILLA DIODATI and the DISAPPEARANCE of DR. JOHN POLIDORI:
In which the Agents of the Vigilant Eye are welcomed to the Villa Diodati by Dr. John Polidori, learn more of the organization and exchange pleasantries.
Events of some note -
r After a strange dream en route to Geneva CJ sees Jovanovich at the ether ship port. He's then brought to Diodati where the other agents await. He seems to feel he is...out of place.
r The house staff shows the guests to their rooms and Polidori welcomes them to the upper sanctum for discussion.
r While the others retire to their rooms Verna stays to study in the library. That night she sees Polidori speaking into a strange device in a small room off of the sanctum.
r When a representative of the Temple of the Veil arrives in the middle of the night Polidori is gone.
STRANGE GOINGS ON at THE TEMPLE of the VEIL:
In which the agents are called to investigate a peculiar finding beneath the Grand Ether Temple in Geneva at which time things go from strange to dangerous as demon driven automatons passing as humans murder the Grand Navigus and make things difficult for the agents.
Events of some note -
r Polidori was asked to the Temple at the request of the Grand Navigus. The Agents went in his stead.
r They were escorted to an excavation deep beneath the Temple. Stones from the broken floor floated in the air and water flowed beneath. The Grand Navigus studied the phenomenon as workers cleared rubble from a room at the far end of the chamber.
r Clarisse noted that the shape of the room matched that of her pendant
r Security agents from the Waybridge Agency stood by guarding the dig
r Workers unearthed a map and gave it to the Navigus at which point the Waybridge men attacked and murdered the Navigus taking the map in the process
r Violence ensued revealing that the Waybridge men were in fact mechanical automatons inhabited by minor demons or sorts
r Clarisse attracts the attention of the demons as she tries to command them
r Addy, having arrived late, mentions having seen one of the Waybridge men going back up to the tower with the Secundus Navigus - the second in command at the temple - and the Agents follow
r Once to the top of the Temple they encounter and defeat the remaining automaton saving the life of the Secundus who is however badly wounded when the automaton explodes
r Other things of interest in the Temple include observing the priests and acolytes don't seem entirely clear on the workings of the Orrey - the large mechanical device that seems to track events in ether travel
r An airship is also seen to disappear over Lake Geneva as if it were breaching the veil into the ether. Something only possible at specific points in the world and closely governed by the Ether Priests.
THE PLAY'S THE THING:
In which the agents investigate the suspicious behaviors of the Lady of the Black Forest and her traveling troupe of actors. They are known to perform what should be an unknown play depicting the invasion of Schwarzwald in ancient times by a general Ereptor ex Animus who was known to employ the undead. The Order is concerned that the actors may have the unfair advantage of actually being undead.
Events of some note -
r After checking into the hotel the Agents go off to the town square to find the players of the Lady of the Black Forest perform their rather questionable play.
r While CJ and Addy watch the performance Verna, Clarisse and Val are off into the night to investigate the Lady's river boat.
r The boat is guarded by a single man who, as it turns out, is impervious to Clarisse's charms and in possession of more than his share of arms. The ensuing fight leaves the six armed gentleman lost to the dark waters. the dock destroyed and the women floating down river on the boat with a cargo barge in tow.
r Sensing an evil presence below deck they sink the boat and find refuge on the barge instead. The barge however turns out to be filled with recently disinterred corpses. The ladies make their way to the forested shore at which point Val excuses herself and charges off into the night.
r Addy and Max show up with velocipede and meet the ladies on the road
r An abandoned tower looms in the distance
r In an attempt to pull warm clothes from "elsewhere" Verna pulls the wet and angry 6-armed man from the trunk of the velocipede. They fight and kill the gentleman
r Val returns with urgent news given to her by the wolves of the forest, "The Blood Eater has returned after thousands of years from his banishment in dreamtime. On the way back to town they find evidence of Blood Eater's handiwork. Well, a minion of the Blood eater.
r Returning to the hotel to regroup and dry off the agents realize that the Lady and her players are staying in the same hotel now that their river ship is sunk.
r Later Shwartzkaff notices several of the players steeling down the side of the hotel and bring it to Val's attention
r Following the players into the night the agents realize the players have transformed into the 6-armed gentlemen. Following them into a house a fight breaks out ultimately leaving the gentlemen dead. Well, deader.
r The house turns out to belong to Udo Hellman, the town constable. Forged papers found on the Gentlemen suggest they setting Hellman to take the blame for the murder of the local priest, Tulset. The letters suggested he would then commit suicide.
r Tracking down Tulset to the remote church they rush out and find a peculiar scene inside: A horrific little man of too many arms - later known as The Advocate - controlling the mind of Hellman and speaking to a dark and wispy image of the Lady of the Forest. Nearby the assassin Gray Mane Pete stood over the body of Father Tulset. The fight left the bad guys dead and the good guys wondering why Tulset and Hellman were targeted.
r In the basement a light is shed on this. A secreted room contains a strange assortment of ancient artifacts and writing, some ancient some recent, in the same obscure language as the map. Additionally a device that Verna observes she thinks to be similar one she saw Polidori using in the library back at Villa Diadoti. Verna relocates the device "elsewhere" for later study and the group carries off various other items.
r Earlier they observed a horror lurking into the catacombs and as the group steeled themselves to pass through the door into said catacombs the creature burst through. They fought and killed the beast but not without effort and wounds.
r In the catacombs they find and destroy Coptic jars in which someone was storing souls.
r Returning to the hotel they listen outside of the Lady's rooms and overhear her talking to someone whose voice CJ recalls from his future past. Again, violence ensues. The Lady, as it turns out, is a demon and her constant companions, the children, are in fact tentacles of sorts. She employs illusion and subterfuge but ultimately the agents win the day and kill her. In as much as such a thing can be killed.
COMMENTS, PONDERINGS AND QUESTIONS:
r Addy recognizes the feeling of ether veil being breeched (can feel the influence of the machine mind)
r Group speculates on a barrier between worlds breaking down
r Concern with the level of necromancy necessary to invoke some of the things the agents have been facing
r Verna observes that magic is acting even less predictable than normal
r Who was behind Tulset's death?
r What is the significance of Tulset's hidden room?
r Who was the Lady speaking to in the hotel room and what was the meaning of the discussion?
r What was behind the attack on the Temple of the Veil?
r Who wanted the map, why, and how did they know it would be found in the excavation?
r Was the murder of the Grand Navigus intentional or incidental?
r Why were the stones under the Temple floating and what the hell came out of the water?
r Where is Polidori? The Agents left in something of a hurry, what else is to found in Diodati?