We arrive in Venice and I must say, it has seen better days. The streets are crowded with an influx of men an arms, the houses now have constructed make-shift racks on the side of the to allow additional sleeping places for more people, further limiting the amount of room to walk. The streets are slippery with salt water, algae, and dried blood. The monastery now lies in ruins. Large amounts of warships patrol the harbor and lagoon. Venice is preparing for war, against whom we don’t know. The corpse collectors also seem to pulling a double shift, taking infected people to an island named Poreglia so they can be ‘cared for’ by the sisters. Sounds like they are rebuilding their plague army.
Friedrich reflects as the party finds a place to hold up while in Venice. We found a room in a “inn” which is a attic in a converted house which was obviously taken by a hostile takeover. The first thing on the agenda is to find out what has been going on since we have left 4 years ago and to see if the abbot is still alive. After an interesting first night, sharing half an attic with a lonely old man can make things awkward when there is only one ladder up there, we manage to bribe a local, with food, and he tells us that Admiral Gotti is now in charge of all of Venice. The Doge it seems has left the city in his charge and hasn’t been seen in over a year. We are not sure if he has taken an extended vacation or he has been ousted. The man also tells us that the monastery had held up to several sieges until an earthquake tore it down and the Venician troops stormed the place. The locals also think the place is haunted by the ghosts of a thousand templar, guarding the place in death which they couldn’t in life. ‘At least the locals will avoid the place, that will help us avoid any unwanted attention when we are on the island itself’.
We do manage to take a boat to the neighboring island of Giudecca, putting us spitting distance from the monastery. After getting more information and wild stories from the locals, we manage to find somebody who is allowing us to borrow a boat, which isn’t his, for the night as long as we tell him what we find on the island. We go to the designated spot that night and find the boat, along with a bag of rosaries and crosses most likely for our protection. Ettore steers our boat to the former concrete dock which we landed years ago, now a rubble beach, and we all head out looking for any signs of life. Ettore goes ahead and finds a well tended garden. I begin scanning the ground, I find a set of fresh tracks leading to the monastery, “No more than a day old, most likely an Italian man from the foot size, walking pace, also appears to have a cane or crutch from the small and regular indentions on the side of the trail…” I look back at my group, I can see that they looking at me like I am crazy. “Never mind, just follow me” I say under my breath.
We follow the tracks to the monastery where they disappear on the stone floor and we begin exploring the place. Ettore unlocks a trap door in one of rooms and we hear a loud clanging noise. ‘If anyone is here they now know we are too.’ We open the hatch to reveal the large bar holding the door in place has fallen onto a well placed pile of pots and kettles purposely put there to act as an alarm in case of intruders. ‘Touche.’ I go down the ladder first to find a large cellar filled with large barrels with spigots. ‘Can it be, I have heard that the monks make it in their monasteries, but I never thought I would actually be in one.’ I approach one of the barrels and pull out a cup from my pack and put it under the nozzle. ‘Here goes nothing’. I turn the handle and a liquid pours out, I fill it just enough for a mouthful and close the spigot. I put the cup up to my nose, ‘It doesn’t smell like wine, maybe…..’ I take a swig and the cool, bitter carbonated fluid enters my mouth. My eyes almost swell up in tears of joy as I swallow the beer down. I take a moment to savor it ‘Oh, I have missed you so’. I fill the cup up this time and down it quickly down it in a few gulps before I call up to the rest of the group letting them know the coast is clear. Further exploration reveals a sleeping area and staircase leading up into the kitchen. Victoria cries out “Is anybody there?” A voice replies: “Lila, is that you?”
We find Abbot Morrisini doing pretty well considering all that has happened. After a quick greeting, we swap information of what has happened in and out of Venice. Apparently Denato was part of the attack upon the monastery and also is the Admiral’s information gatherer. At this point we can only guess where the sisters and mother of mercy are, but if we capture him, we could work their locations out of him. We also learn that the last Corvo we couldn’t identify, Estavan, is the spiritual adviser to the Holy Roman Emperor. Whether they are planning a great war pitting the empire against Venice or if the Corvos are playing both sides making sure they are with the winning side we aren’t sure. But first things first, we have to capture Denato. We devise a plan to drop rumors of a group or individuals like us hiding in a remote part of Venice called Pellestrina. This will hopefully lure him out with not a lot of protection where we can kill his guards and capture him.
We leave the Abbot in his monastery, after I filled my waterskin with the best beer I have ever tasted, and return to the spot where we got the boat. On the way back we create a story about ghosts and evil spirits and we proceed to scuff up the blessed items the boy gave to us. When we pull up to the shore, the boy is waiting for us. I immediately leap out of the boat and begin kissing the ground thanking the lord that we are safe. Victoria tells the wide eyed boy a story of how we nearly escaped certain death and presented the damaged rosaries and crosses as proof. He leaves us, satisfied with knowing what is “really on the island” and we go and prepare to set our trap for Denato.