The Night Lords V. A Start of Pilgrimage

Continuing from last episode, Ion is begging Esther to kill him before he is unable to control himself. Esther refuses and instead offers her blood to him. Ion's strong feelings for the girl allow him to back off. He takes the knife and plunges it into his leg...then crawls to the other side of the prison. He demands that Esther stay back while thanking her. He bids farewell and draws the knife from his leg ready to plunge it into his heart. Esther screams for him to stop. Suddenly, a shot rings out destroying the knife before it could destroy its young handler. The two look in relief to see Father Nightroad. The bumbling Father apologizes for being late. How astute....he came with blood.

Elsewhere, The Duchess of Kiev has come to take Suleiman (Duke of Tigris) into custody for traitorous actions. She says the Count of Memphis and his terran friend will be witnesses. "That impossible," he says, "I was told they were found dead in the dungeon." How surprised he was when Ion and Esther arrive. The Duke refuses to be apprehended and points his powerful ring at the trio. Suddenly, The Empress appears in her domed circular throne. The Duke can't believe that she is still alive.

The Empress expresses her disappointment in the Duke. He, of course, denies trying to kill her. She tells the woman next to her to remove the cloak covering her face. The woman removes it to reveal............The Keeper of the Secret Imperial History, The Duchess of Moldova, Milka Fortuna. Ion is stunned! It's his grandmother! (Very young looking grandmother...Wow.) Her majesty explains how she made the Duchess of Moldova her impersonator and left a puppet at her estate. "Do you not remember this face?" she says lifting the dome covering her. Suleiman is shocked to see that it was young, Seth. He believed he had killed her using Solomon's Ring on the cliffs.

After some interaction, the Duke appears to aim Solomon's ring at the Empress. However, just as he fires, the Duchess of Kiev fires at him. The Empress is surprised to see that he had deliberately missed. Unfortunately, the Duchess did not, and Suleiman is left with a gaping hole in his body. When asked why he missed, Suleiman replied, "There is no child who doesn't love his mother." The Empress cradles his head in her hands. Before he dies, the Duke of Tigris questions, "Who are you?"

The Empress turns to the others asking where the additional envoy is? Esther tells her that Father Nightroad left when they started talking about the Baron of Luxor. She added that the Baron had passed away, and the person controlling him is Dietrich from Orden. This disturbs the Empress (a.k.a. Seth).

Inside a highly advanced computer establishment, the Baron (Dietrich) is invoking a self-recovery system. Father Nightroad enters and demands he step away from the computer saying it causes nothing but trouble. Dietrich replies, "..but your kind once used it long ago." Father Nightroad insists he leave the data cube and step away. Dietrich becomes angry for he hates to take orders from others. His hands shoot flames at Father Nightroad. The good Father has already converted to the Kresnik and easily deflects them. He then plunges his weapon into the Baron's body. What? No effect....Dietrich has made his borrowed body's blood (try to say that fast) flammable.

The Puppet master (If you've been watching, then you know that's Dietrich.) stares at his attacker and says, "Nanomachine Kresnik 02. Release of restrictions to 80% approved. With those instructions, the Kresnik's powers decrease as his body appears electrified. He collapses. Dietrich smirks and says, "I see....A vampire that sucks the blood of other vampires, but you don't like doing that....this is the result of starving yourself." Father Nightroad wonders how he knew this? As if reading his mind, Dietrich replies, "I heard things.....like you were once the enemy of the world."

Dietrich is done talking. Just as he is about to destroy the Father, the Empress (Seth) arrives. Not wanting to be interrupted Dietrich sends a ring of flame at the young looking girl. It's deflected. What a surprise! The Empress is transforming! Kresnik 03's power. High-energy focused ultrasonic waves! Flame of sound. Dietrich appears to have disintegrated. A struggling Father Nightroad looks up at the young Empress. "It's been 900 years, big brother," she says.

The next day, a flying freighter awaits its passengers before venturing back to the Vatican. Esther says goodbye to everyone. The Duchess of Kiev advises Ion to say how he feels, because humans age and die quickly, and he may never see her again. A sorrowful Ion gives Esther a hug saying they will see each other again soon.

Not far off, Father Nightroad is talking with Seth. She wants them to live together as a family, but he says he's a sinner and cant forgive himself. Seth then informs her brother, "He's still alive. He combined with the Kresnik 100% so the fall from outer space wasn't enough to kill him." Father Nightroad walks away declaring, "I will destroy him...............for sure!"

NOTES: Excellent episode! Many secrets revealed and more to come!
Severed Limb Count: Besides Dietrich's apparent disintegration, there was also the internal organs of The Duke of Tigris.

The Throne of Roses I. Kingdom of the North

In the middle of what seems like nowhere, Father Nightroad closes a spherical chamber. Afterwards, he solemnly stares up at the sky.

Meanwhile, a funeral is taking place in Albion, and the Pope and Esther are in attendance. Queen Bridget II has passed, and it is unknown who will succeed her on the throne. Before she died, she told a handsome blond man, "Search for the star of hope that will lead this land and this world."

At the Vatican, Cardinal Caterina, Sister Kate, and Father Havel are discussing the situation. It's been fifteen years since the dead queen's son, Crown Prince Gilbert, was assassinated. There's been no successor to the throne the entire time. Presently the ones with the right to succeed the throne are Ireland's Duke Erin and the Germanic Ludwig II. The choices are not the best....especially in this time of unrest. The Pope and Sister Esther requested to be sent to Albion as a goodwill gesture. The Cardinal knows that Albion maintains more lost technology than any other nation on the planet. It would be well worth strengthening our bonds with them, but it won't be easy.

Inside the domed city, the Empress (Seth) and the Duchess of Moldova are happy over the events that recently took place. Making peace with the Vatican was something they had truly hoped for. They watch Ion depart in a flying freighter. The world will change they hope. Seth Nightroad (the Empress) wants to make it happen for her brother's sake, however, she knows that he (someone sinister) will interfere.

In Albion, Sister Esther and the Pope are meeting with Captain Spencer. The Captain says Albion would like to deepen its friendly ties with the Vatican. She takes them to the place where Albion's technology was born. They get to an elevator and are greeted by the Count of Manchester, Virgil Walsh. (He's been assigned with overseeing the Ghetto for generations.) The Ghetto is actually an underground factory where they make computer chips. "Why are you working underground," Sister Esther asked. Virgil says this is fine for them. If they were outside, it would cause unnecessary confusion and fear. Esther doesn't quite understand why they would want to live in total isolation. Just as he begins to confide in her, an explosion rings out. In bursts a fully armed woman and two men. They demand the Pope.
"Stop it, Vanessa!" Virgil scolds.
"Brother don't interfere," she responds. "We're going outside....today marks the end of our being the Terrans' dogs."
In the chaos, Sister Esther manages to get the Pope out of there. Unfortunately, they get separated and unable to find one another due to the thick smoke.

Back at the Vatican, Cardinal Caterina and her brother, Cardinal Medici, are informed of the terrorist attack in Londinium. Of course, Cardinal Medici wants to take immediate action for he feels vampires are bloodsucking monsters and an alliance is impossible. The Inquisition are sent immediately. Cardinal Caterina gathers a team from the Department of Foreign Affairs as well.

Once in Albion, the Department of Inquisition are blocked from the entrance to the underground factory. While waiting outside Sister Paula gets a call from Cardinal Caterina. She says the ones involved are vampires. They were sealed underground by the Albionian government and provided them with lost technology for many years. However, with the queen gone, they've decided they want to leave She tells how Cardinal Medici has no desire to negotiate and wants to use the young Pope as a martyr in order to destroy the vampires. Caterina wants to save the young Pope.

Not far from the underground factory, Professor Wordsworth and Dandelion are discussing the incident when Father Nightroad walks up to them. A few moments later, Brother Petros and second in command, Sister Paula approach the men. For this incident, the Inquisition says, they will work together. "How are they going to get into the underground factory," they ask. Father Nightroad knows just where to go. Looks like he's been here before.....

Can they save the Pope? You'll soon find out.....

The Throne of Roses II. The Refuge

Picking up from last episode, Virgil listens as Captain Mary Spencer reads a letter from the terrorists. They will no longer tolerate the control and oppression practiced by the government of Albion and want independence plus other demands met. Mary fears if this were to come out in the open, then Albion would be internationally scorned. "They still haven't captured the Pope," she surmises, "We still have a chance if we save the Pope first." Mary vows to protect Albion until they can find the star, and asks Virgil to continue negotiations.

Virgil returns to the underground factory. He notices intruders have entered and are advancing through an unused passageway.

The intruders are AX and the Inquisition. The group determine it's best if they all split up. Each of them head in a different direction. Elsewhere, Vanessa notices the intruders as well. They step up their search for the Pope. Before leaving, she gets word that Virgil is asking to negotiate.....Vanessa basically tells him to "kiss off!"

Meanwhile, to his surprise, the Pope has made his way to an underground city. He is startled by an adorable little girl (Angelica) and passes out (Geez...this guy is such a wimp!). He wakes up in a hospital-like room. A few kind people are attending to him. He asks if they are vampires. They explain how they really don't like to be called vampires, and explain that he is in Methuselah city where they make machines and medicine for the terrans. They are not part of the rebellion, but they understand why it is occurring. Their fate has been unbearable. Given their numbers...if they were attacked by the terrans...they'd be wiped out. The Pope listens solemnly.

In another area, Esther desperately searches for the Pope. Suddenly, she becomes caught in string. It's Dietrich! "Why are you here?" the young sister asks. "We're going to end the world," he says, "An angel is about to come down and bring justice to this ugly world." He leaves her dangling from the strings saying...she may still be able to become a star of hope for this world.

Returning to the Pope, young Angelica asks him to give her sick rabbit a blessing. He feels she thinks too much of him, but she says he was chosen by God. After he blesses her rabbit, Angelica takes him to her special place. Through the vents they crawl until she gets to a room that oversees a large rocket. Suddenly, Vanessa discovers them. When Angelica and Vanessa begin to yell at one another, the Pope tearfully begs them stop saying he'll go willingly. As they leave, Vanessa turns to the young child and apologizes for yelling.

Leon gazes at the picture inside his locket. The face of a pretty young girl stares back at him. Unseen....he overhears passing terrorists stating they have secured the Pope. The young kids from episode 7 (Peter and Wendy) quietly call to him. They tell him where the rebel hideout is located. The two admit they've been accepted and treated pretty well. They don't think the terrorists are bad people and don't want anyone hurt. Leon says he must save the Pope first, and then he'll see what he can do. He doesn't go far before he hears their screams. When he returns, Leon finds a group of autojaegers with hatchets in hand. Leon vows to protect the children saying that if he didn't, he wouldn't be able to face his daughter.

The scene switches to Esther, who is also facing a life threatening situation. An autojaeger eyes her for the kill. Thank goodness, Father Nightroad guns it down just in time! After releasing her, Father Nightroad leads Esther to an elevator. He basically tells her the other members of AX are there and to leave it to them. She nods her approval before the doors close to take her above ground to the palace.

NOTES: This Pope is such a cry baby! Kinda makes you feel all warm and cozy knowing he's supposed to guide the world, doesn't it??
Severed Limb Count: An autojeager lost an arm, but it regenerated.