Changeling: the Lost
Venice: Broken Masks, Shattered Dreams
Prologue - part 1
In the night of Venice a young man ran through the streets. At every turn he could feel it on his back. He would burst through gathered crowds, who would stare at him. But when he looked at them he would just cry and run even faster. In the Calle de'la Morte his pursuer caught him. Blood splattered the streets and seeped into the snow, just as the clocks struck 1 am.
It was mid December, 2009, and a cold night in the city of Venice. The wind from the North blew down snow from the Dolomites, and fog rolls in off the lagoon. In the quaint little English pub, the Devil's Forest, Clio awaits her motley to arrive.
Clio, dressed in a simple black dress, is curvy and with dark Italian features. However, her mien shows her skin is a light green, with silvery scales and vibrant red hair. She looks up from her drink of Campari as the door of the pub opens and from the cold walks in one of her motley. Stooping under the door frame, the gangly and dishevelled Stitches rubs his arms to get warm and goes to the bar to meet Clio. Stitches is as his name sounds, with his mien showing his skin to be pallid and grey, with stitches about the joints of his limbs and long lank black hair.
Hearing the sound of familiar voice, Freki looks up out of her booth in the pub and realises she was in fact early, and joins her motley. Freki nurses a pint of ale, and scratches her tufty hair and ears, her wolf like nature causing her no end of issues with fleas. Her nails are gnarled and she gnaws at one while they wait for the rest of the motley to gather.
Finally Sonata, scruffily dressed in a battered suit with shoulder length hair, almost drifts in from the fog. His mien shows that he is composed of mist and smoke, with his hair drifting about on and unseen breeze. He puts out his cigarette and orders a whiskey. Else arrives shortly after Sonata, wearing a large waterproof coat and her work overalls, all covered in grime. Compared to the others she is much shorter, and her mien shows that she has dark eyes, and oil stained skin and pointed ears.
With the motley gathered, Clio informs them that they have been invited to a party held at Club Casanova, by the Spring Courtier, Malvolio, leader of the Hundred Masks motley. Stitches adds that they have also been invited to a show being performed by the Skulls of Arlecchino at the Teatro Fenice, home to the House of Autumn. The motley decides that they will call in on Malvolio and then head onto the show at the theatre. However, not liking the company of others, especially the House of Spring, Else decides to go and wait at her boat and will meet them later to go to the theatre.
Walking through the quiet, foggy streets of the Northern district of Venice, Cannaregio, the motley makes it's way to Club Casanova, near to the train station. As they approach they see it is shut, but sat on the steps is a woman in a black trench coat. Her skin is reptilian, her eyes red with slit pupils, and smoke puffed out of her nostrils. Clio recognised her as Maria Cutlass, a Draconic Fairest, and Malvolio's bouncer. They should her the invitation and after berating Clio for not show her face at Malvolio's parties more often, the troupe went to the back entrance and to the party.
Entering the party, they were hit by the smell of opium, absinthe, hashish and flowers. This back store room of the club was now a salon, with sofas and make shift beds covered in luxurious throws. There was a warm fire and people lazing about, both mortal and changeling. Malvolio, a swarthy and smartly dress man, in a fine suit and a goatee, greeted them. He flashed his smile and he smelt sickly, of carnations and other intoxicating flowers. His mien showed his skin was pale like petals, his lips as inviting as a flower to a bee, and his hair was purple.
The motley sat, discussed how things were, how the House of Autumn fared and if they were going to the opera. Malvolio offered a variety of narcotics and food, with Sonanta enjoying a cigar, Freki almost getting stoned on a brownie, and Stitches getting his water spiked with LSD. They also spoke to Tybalt, another of Malvolio's motley. He took an interest in Freki before insulting her, calling her a dog. Tybalt himself was a Beast, his seeming being cat like.
There was a knocking on the door and two more changelings entered the club. The first, dressed in a smart yellow jacket and with yellow feathers sprouting from under his collar and cuffs, was Count Carnelian. The Count was the leader of the motley known as the Harlequins of Carnelian. He was also the Columbine, a title within the Court of Carnival. As a Spring courtier and of Carnival, it was up to Carnelian to organise the official balls of Carnival, but also to ensure that other parties did not get out of hand and attract too much unwanted attention. Clio remembered that the Count had banned Malvolio from holding parties previously for a year due to the unfortunate deaths of 3 mortals at one of his parties. They had died of drug overdoses from glamour infused drugs derived from goblin fruit.
The motley watched as Malvolio and the Count spoke to each other and strong words were exchanged. The Count's companion was another of his motley, the Glass Elemental, Lady Murano.
The motley left the club, needing time to meet Else and go to the Teatro Fenice. Stitches was suffering from the spiked drink, and he saw streamers in his vision and gargoyles leered back at him. It took a moment for him to get a grip and realise that his Keeper was not here and that he was safe with friends.
They met Else at the Rialto bridge and carried on towards Campanile, and from there to the Teatro. The Teatro, loomed over them as they exited into the square from the Frezzaria. The large, classical building towered above them. The steps swept up to the entrance. The motley entered via a side entrance, being greeted by an Autumn courtier, Mr White, a Gravewight and mime artist of the Skulls of Arlecchino motley. This motley was in charge of performing and organising the commedia della'arte, a means for the Autumn court to harvest glamour and teach through plays the dangers of the Fae.
In the seats, high up in the theatre, the motley watched the Skulls perform an Opera, not unlike that of Wagner, depicting a terrible tale of elves and the tricks that they can play. Sonanta noted that in the aisles there were others, also changelings, dressed as goblins, moving about trying to scare the audience.
The opera reached its terrible conclusion, and the motley could feel the fear rising, and some of the audience gasped and cried out in fright. Glamour was plentiful and the night drew to a close, with the motley being ushered to a private bar where the rest of the changeling audience gathered.
The motley had the pleasure of meeting Captain Polo, a Water Dweller Ogre, and some of his motley, the Silk Road Pirates. Polo was the Ranger of the Thorns for the House of Autumn, and so knew Else well she had helped fix a boat for the Pirates. They also met some of the Library of the Lions, the motley that took care of the tomes and books kept by the House of Autumn. Sonanta tried to speak with one of them, the mad artist Wizened, Tristan Titian. Lastly there was the Eric Red and Sidney Signus, a wax like Mirrorskin ringmaster, and a swan like dancer. Both were of the Skulls, with Eric being the leader of that group.
As the night drew to a close the motley left the Teatro and headed home. However, as Sonanta looked up he spotted something on the rooftops. There, on the roof of the Church of San Salvador sat a dark being, its cape flapping in the wind and its eyes red and glowing.