This is the SECOND part of my run through Blood Coda, part of The Edom Files from Pelgrane Press. Interested parties who want to follow the action are directed to the first part here for more on the player characters and the first chapter. This was meant to finish in a single evening's play, but is taking longer than expected.
The operation resumed with the sudden arrival of Willis at the safe house, to take more direct command of the mission. Muller had been scouring the centre of London for holy water, raiding church fonts, and has enough for about a litre in a plastic bottle. Varoutte had been to Mayfair to shop for expensive accessories ahead of his hot date with Romanian ballerina STELA LAHOVARY.
Willis confirmed that the team were likely facing vampires. The agents decided to equip themselves more thoroughly, with garlic, wooden stakes, UV torches and crucifixes. Willis said that he had information that ultra violet light might prevent vampires from using some of their powers. Staking them might immobilise them, but nobody in his 'department' has successfully tried that before. Hence, it is in the realm of the theoretical at the moment.
It was now lunchtime, so the operatives decided to head back to Covent Garden and check out the warehouse that HARVEY COLE, the ex-Army doorman at the Royal Opera House, had told them about. The agents noted that it was guarded by four men, who lurked out the front smoking and chatting, but they could see it was possible to sneak in the back using a fire escape.
Leaving Quentin to watch the front the rest of the team accessed the warehouse from the rear, and could see it was full of theatrical props, stage scenery and costumes. There were four more men inside the warehouse, and the agents also spotted some coffin-sized crates in among the rest of the equipment. Willis sneaked down into the warehouse and surprised two British thugs, who were Intimidated into surrendering, and tied up.
The same tactic worked a second time for two Romanian guards, who also turned out to have pistols on them. The agents locked the front door from the inside, and interrogated one Romanian guard. He said that he had not seen ILEANA DRAGOI, the leader of the Ballet Brasov, entering or leaving the warehouse, but he confirmed the strange crates, which were filled with soil, belonged to her. He and his colleagues are mainly employed moving scenery between the warehouse and the opera house. Varoutte thought the guard looked awfully pale and found that he had needle marks on his arms. The guard told the agents that the ballet's doctor, OLGA LUPAN, regularly extracts blood from the guards.
The boxes of soil were emptied on the floor on Willis' orders, and mixed with garlic to stop them from being of any use to undead.
The agents successfully escaped from the warehouse as the guards at the front became suspicious and tried to gain entry.
Next the agents headed over to the opera house itself. Henley spoke with Cole, who had just taken up station at the front door. He said that the Royal Ballet Company was performing this evening, and that the Ballet Brasov is scheduled to begin its run of The Strigoi tomorrow. He could not confirm whether any of the Brasov principals were still in the opera house.
Entering the opera house, the agents headed first for the room used by Ballet Brasov in the basement. On the way they spotted MARTIN PETRESCU, although he did not recognise them. Going into the room (using the excuse of a floral delivery), they found three Romanian seamstresses working on costumes. There was no sign of any ballet dancers. Apart from sewing machines and some medical equipment, the agents noticed an empty blood bag in a trash can. The seamstresses seemed healthy with no evidence of anaemia.
The agents did not loiter in the room, but headed for the main auditorium. On the way someone brushed past Henley and deposited a note in his pocket. It asked for an urgent meeting at pier 34 in the West India Company docks in the Isle of Dogs the following day. Henley believed this was done by a trained agent. In the auditorium they briefly watched the Royal Ballet Company warming up for their final performance.
The team returned to their safe house in Knightsbridge. Varoutte changed for his night out with Lahovary. He picked her up from her hotel and they dined out. Lahovary seemed quite genuine and pleased to be part of the Ballet Brasov, and happy to have escaped from Romania. She is a big fan of her boss Dragoi and full of praise for the other principal dancers. After dinner the couple returned to the hotel where they had drinks in the hotel bar. Here they were joined by another ballet dancer, Russian DARIA IVANOVNA.
Ivanovna got into conversation with Varoutte and seemed to use some kind of mind control on him, seeking to get him to tell her who he really was, and why he was really interested in the Ballet Brasov. Luckily for the operation, Varoutte rolled a solid Stability test and resisted it. The ballerinas seemed happy with his mumbled excuse about his dubious criminal activities and his smuggling career.
Varoutte returned to the safe house having told the ballerinas he would attend the performance on the morrow. The next day the team tooled up with more equipment, including a cosh (Henley), stab vests, mirror shades (Henley), more surveillance equipment (Varoutte), ear plugs, and throat protectors. They drove to the docks in two vehicles. Henley was wired for sound. The weather was cold and misty. At the docks they bribed a security guard with £20 (!) to go get a cup of tea.
Henley went onto the quayside, shadowed by Willis and Muller. Here he met a Romanian man, who introduced himself as VASILE COSTIN. He showed Henley into a warehouse where there were two more boxes full of earth. He admitted he was a Romanian Securitate agent infiltrated into the ballet company, who had realised it was being run by a vampire. He said the four principals accompanying Dragoi were not themselves vampires, but fed from Dragoi's blood. Ivanovna is her favourite.
Henley and Costin walked back out of the warehouse, at which point they were shot at by a sniper on a speed boat on the river. Luckily he missed, and the two men sheltered in the warehouse as the boat - which had four men in it - sped off up the river. Varoutte managed to photograph it, but the visibility is poor. Costin asked the agents for asylum in the UK. He also told them that there were potentially more coffins left, and that he suspects Dragoi lairs in the basement of another building owned by the opera house, on Martlet Street in Covent Garden.
The session ended with the agents debating what to do next. They are planning to hand Costin over to RENTON at MI6, but have not done so yet.