The Scroll from Istanbul
The characters picked up a mysterious scroll in Istanbul, traveling incognito in the Ottoman city to meet their contact and infiltrate a Turkish library. However, they were discovered and had to flee through the cisterns with their terrified guide. Despite pursuit by an Ottoman sorcerer and his ghazi guards, they were able to escape the city.
Back in Venice, they consulted with the head of House D’Este, their patron Il Vecchio, who is secretly Uberto’s nephew, though he appears much older than the sorcerer. Questions arose regarding the guide and their near-capture by the Turk. Preliminary examination of the scroll indicated it containted a long, complex ritual in kabbalistic encryption. The scroll passed into the hands of a Greek sorcerer working with the Ten, and they sent for the guide to bring him to interrogation.
However, the guide had escaped, somehow slipping his bonds and out of the cramped galley space in a manner that suggested he was not fully human. They later recaptured him at the Greek sorcerer’s home, but discovered the Greek had fled the city to they knew not where.
Doctor Gregario ventured out one night and became drunk with his fellow and sometime rival Doctor Nazario. While venturing home alone through the dark streets of Venice, he was ambushed but spared by the arrival of a fearsome beast which bit him deeply but let him live. He blacked out and awoke the next morning in an inn under the care of a group of boisterous Germans. One of them apologized to him and offered a satchel of herbs he said would aid in the coming nights.
Gregario reported to the rest of the group but did not mention the herbs. On the next night of the full moon, he changed to a savage wolf-man while at Uberto’s house, and the party was obliged to hunt him through the city, aided by Otto’s company. Though the wolf Gregario killed a number of people in the Jewish ghetto, he was eventually captured in a heavy net. Later investigation determined he had truly been infected by the bite of a werewolf, and the indications were that he had been targeted by one of the Holy Roman Emperor’s Kriegshund, an elite order composed of werewolves.
The Turkish Sorcerer’s Spy
The captive Turkish guide was removed to Uberto’s house, where the sorcerer imprisoned the creature in a barrel of seawater, as it appeared to be able to take a boneless aquatic form. There he was able to discover the creature was linked to its master, the Turk sorcerer they had encountered in Istanbul. There was debate over whether they had been permitted to capture the scroll, and what possible schemes the Ottomans might have put in play. Uberto tried to turn the sorcerous link backward to cause damage to the Turkish sorcerer, and was (apparently) partly successful. However, the guide died as his body exploded from the arcane energies channeled through it.
A Journey into the Veneto
Il Vecchio, the head of House D’Este, informed the party that a D’Este caravan had been ambushed and destroyed on the mainland, the information coming from the minor house Da Scala, who held the city of Silviana Alba in the western extent of the Veneto, in a wild forest cut through by an ancient Roman road. The caravan had been returning from Prague, and advance word had said it was carrying items of occult significance. Il Vecchio charged the party with investigating the brigands whom the Da Scala accused of destroying the caravan, and interviewing the handful of survivors the Da Scala were harboring.
Feint to the North
Otto did some investigation through his contacts in the mercenary community, and found that a particular condottiere, Aldo Dragonetti, had been hiring within the last sixty days. Deciding it best to flush out the brigands, he sent his son and lieutenant Maximilian north with a small, well-armed force bolstered by wagon-mounted light cannon. He would follow a day later with the larger part of the company. Max left on the appointed day along with Camilla, who split with a small escort to arrive early at Silviana Alba to make discreet inquiry while Max continued up the northern road. A day later, Otto set out after Max, accompanied by Gregorio and Uberto.
As a precaution, Uberto had given Max a skull containing a ghost who would return to Uberto with a message when the holder of the skull so commanded.
One day out, Otto and Uberto were awakened when the ghost arrived bearing a desperate message from Max, about being under attack at night, by “hordes of nightwalkers.”