Dresden Files: Venice
!!! Part Zero
Luca Porrini and Dolores Alegra Malspina recover consciousness in a field close to a burning farm building. The ground is moist, the sun is heading towards the horizon and there is no sign of modern civilization. Heading towards the farm building Dolores cautiously identifies it as mid 17th century in construction and there is a distinct odour of ‘burnt pork’. Concerned as to exactly what may have happened, Dolores studies the area carefully detecting no sign of a magical effect, illusion or otherwise. Shortly thereafter there is the sound of hoof beats and a squadron a around a dozen cavalry ride up. Their manner of dress and armament place them firmly in the 17th century, as does the stilted manner of their German. Improvising quickly, and well, Dolores explains she is an Italian woman from the Malspina trading family and she and her bodyguard had been robbed by bandits. The commander of the squadron Captain Henning Stormer seems completely taken by her story and arranges to take her to meet the local commander Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly.
‘Meantime’ Gina Tortelli had forced er way through the house in pursuit of the others and emerged into a small storeroom. Edging past the barrels and crates she peered out of the door through a small courtyard and into the street. Moving out she finds the street almost deserted, with only a few peasants and beggars huddling in doorways. Her manner of dress attracts attention quite quickly and she is approached by a small patrol of armed men, carrying polearms and wearing leather armour. They stop her and insist she needs to come with them to meet their captain.
!!! Part One
After a short journey through the streets, during which she used the distraction of a nearby canonball landing in the city to evoke the aspect ‘nothing to see here’ on her electric lantern, Gina Tortelli is taken to a building in the corner of a small square, outside which a queue of people is being marshaled by some soldiers. She is led around the side and in through a small door, up a narrow flight of stairs and into a room with windows looking out on two sides. There she meets the soldiers commander, Captain Peter Blienrode. Looking up from his desk of papers, he watches her for a few moments before asking her who she is and what she is doing in the city. Considering her answer carefully, Gina states she was travelling back to Venice with friends when she contracted a fever, which halted their journey. She has no memory of what happened next but awoke this morning and set out to find her friends. The captain asks for a description of them (Gina gives him a basic description of Luca Porrini and Dolores Alegra Malspina) before dispatching some of his men to try and find them. Having been told her German husband has ‘been taken by the war’, he asks where they came from, Gina improvises and says Hanover (which luckily is also in revolt against the Holy Roman Empire and has not yet been taken). Seemingly unwilling to simply release her, Captain Blienrode gets a plate of cheese, bread and beer for her and continues his work, looking up at her occasionally but saying nothing. Eventually darkness begins to fall and the background barrage of fire at the city winds down to a halt.
Neither Dolores Alegra Malspina nor Luca Porrini have too much trouble riding with Captain Henning Stormer and his patrol, and thus around two hours after leaving the burning farmhouse they climb a short rise and arrive at the cavalry regiments encampment overlooking the city of Magdeburg. Details of the siege were sketchy from their distance, but the scars of the siegeworks surrounding the city and the clouds of smoke from the cannon barrages were clearly visible. Dismounting the captain led them to a slightly larger tent, out the front of which was a table covered in maps and papers, at which stood two men. The regimental commander, Colonel Lutkemann, is briefed on the details of their discovery, and proceeds to interview Dolores and Luca, looking for details of their attackers. Dolores begins to realise that he is hoping they match an enemy he has in mind, and adjusts her description to suggest that they might be responsible. Seemingly accepting her story of being from an Italian trading family,
Dolores realises the aide is watching whilst the colonel talks over dinner. She engages him in conversation and feeds him a sob story about a failed marriage arrangement and previously dead husband, he seems to believe her.
Finishing her meal Gina persuades Captain Blienrode to take her back to her ‘abode’.
Gina phones Dolores.
Invisible flight into city.
Meeting with Kayetan, who tastes Dolores blood and ‘knows’ her.
Back through the doors to 21st century Venice.
Gina goes to talk to Kayetans spotter.