5 October 1997
I had begun trying to reach out to Tadzio last week, and he finally got my message and arrived the day after I met Dr. Harris. As I couldn't go to the town offices, he went to gather all the information he could about the property I saw Mr. Withenow enter after the therapy meeting. It was after dusk when he returned, and we had papers detailing the history of Lot 87 spread around my hotel room within the hour.
It had been a small hospital, that went out of business after World War II when a nearby town became a major suburb and could boast a much larger and better facility. The building sat empty ever since, but has changed hands a few times and is currently owned by a group called the Jörmungandr Trust, who bought the land in 1981. I called Henry at Tadzio's request, and he went to an investigator he knows named Mark Larmais. What we got back was a docket of financial information that was a mess to sift through; but as soon as I saw Edward Withenow as a representative, I knew we were on to something.
We spent a few days sorting out records and found that the land trust was affiliated with a half dozen other shell companies or groups, with their hands in international trade, political activism, and personal security. Most of them incorporated a red spiral into their logo, and some looked very similar to the particular spiral I had seen in the basement of the Frozen Pines Inn.
"I think," Tadzio said, looking over the chart we had drawn in the process of tying everything together, "you've been hunting a very small part of a very large problem." I handed him a coffee and took a sip of my own before nodding.
"The problem is, where's the head? Is it the cult? They don't show up anywhere on here."
"I think maybe this is all the cult, Bene. But look, it seems like a lot of these groups split up and went their own ways for a while, and have only reconvened in the last few years."
"You think the Barzai is reuniting what was once a more powerful empire."
"I think we need to decide whether that hospital on the edge of town is really important enough to risk our lives investigating."
"Well. My life."
"It still hurts when I don't die."
"But I'm serious. Why here?"
"There's a powerful presence there, Tad. I think it's where the last priests were taken, and if that's the case, I know the Barzai has been operating out of it in the recent past. Maybe he still is."
"That's a big maybe."
"Do you have a better idea?" He sighed and looked over the chart again.
"Just. Make sure someone knows where we're going."
Evidence compiled for use during the trial of Father Benedict de Monte.