Changeling: the Lost
Venice: Broken Masks, Shattered Dreams
Episode 3 - Skulls - parts 1 & 2
It was the New Year, 2010, and Stitches was at church. It was Sunday, and mass had finished. Stitches often came to church in order to seek some form of forgiveness for the sins he committed during his time in Arcadia.
That day, however, was different. Stitches mind was distracted by the mounting number of deaths. The Rib Thief had struck 9 times in total, and the riddles and clues made little sense. Stitches knew he needed some insight into the events. And so, knowing the power of the Wyrd, Stitches committed himself to his next course of action.
Stitches’ local church was that of San Salvador. The priest, Tommaso, was in his late 40s and one of the more forgiving priests that Stitches had met. Asking for privacy, Stitches and Tommaso spoke first of the strange deaths that had been occurring around Venice, to which Tommaso acknowledged that he knew that some had in fact occurred near a number of churches. It was then that Tommaso revealed to Stitches the meaning of the stars and the alchemical symbol of the sun. He told Stitches that it referred to Titian, the great painter of Venice, known by the verse from Dante’s ‘The Divine Comedy’ as the ‘Sun amidst small stars’. So in some way the painter Titian is related to the deaths.
Stitches, finally spoke to Tommaso of something more strange, of demons and angels. He asked if Tommaso was willing to see the world for what it was, to see the truth, and so help Stitches repent for the sins he has made. With that Stitches held the hand of Tommaso, and recited the words of a pledge, binding Tommaso and himself into a pact of honesty and trust. With that Tommaso looked upon Stitches with new eyes. He could see how thin and frail looking Stitches really is. He could see his pointed ears, and the stitches that criss-crossed his body. Tommaso was stunned and over the next hour Stitches explain what happened, and Tommaso realised there were many others who he might need to help.
There was then a scream from within the church, and Tommaso and Stitches raced out to see a man dragging another of the church congregation, a woman called Veronica, away and out of the side entrance of the church. Stitches raced after the man. He followed the screams to a side alley where he watched the man, a strange fellow with a trimmed beard and desperate eyes. He kept a knife to Veronica’s throat and as he stepped backwards he disappeared with her, fading into the wall. Stitches called upon his Fae eyes, he peered behind the veil of reality. Where the wall stood was a gateway, into a dark tunnel. It smelt awful and there was the sound of rats and the buzzing of flies. But where ever it led to it wasn’t the Hedge. Stitches then around and there waiting was a man with long blond hair and a leather biker jacket. Stitches could see that he had a shadowy figure nearby, covered in nets and barnacles.
Elsewhere in Canneragio, Sonata was sat outside a café, sipping at an abandoned drink. He loked up and sat across from him was an old man. The man looked pale and passed to Sonata a photo of a woman. He said to Sonata to save her, and then as Sonata looked up he was gone.
Sonata began to ask around about the woman, and it turned out she lived locally, as did her grand father. Sonata eventually tracked down the apartments where the old man lived, and broke in. he found it dusty and abandoned, as if it hadn’t been lived in for months. He looked about until he stopped in the bathroom. The mirror steamed up and a message was written in it. ‘Save her’ it said. Sonata left, knowing he needed the others t make sense of this.
Freki had been running errands, it was the only way to keep her mind of the fact that she was being haunted by crows flowing her. She tracked down Sonata and together they went looking for Stitches. They eventually ended up at the San Salvador church and found the police there. They asked around, knowing Stitches went to church there, and they found out that the woman they were looking for was the one who had been kidnapped. They were then approached by Father Tommaso, who spoke to them as if he knew what they were. They seemed puzzled and asked after Stitches, and then they realized that Stitches had reveal the truth to Tommaso.
At the Teatro Fenice, Stitches and Ralph were at the entrance to the House of Autumn. Stitches was surprised by a number of things. That Ralph knew of the House, and that Ralph also knew of the key to open the door to the House. Inside they met Codexial, and they discussed how Ralph knew the House of Autumn, and that he was what was known as one of the Bound. They also discussed the missing woman, that a gate to the Underworld had been opened, and that Ralph had come across a ghost of one of the dead killed by the Rib Thief. They ghost spoke of ‘Sine Sole Sileo’. Stitches recognised this as ‘Sins souls lie’. But the version Ralph knew meant something more. ‘I am silent without light’. With another verse that they had learnt from a victim, Stitches realized that it referred to a sun dial. But how did a sun dial and the work of Titian, and ribs fit together he wondered? Furthermore, Codexial informed them that they had found something of importance in the diary of one of the victims. It was a rhyme or riddle.
‘We all stand on the field of battle at Marostica. None can take first blood, such is our honor, such is our law. We are the armies of day and night.’
Codexial explained that the town of Marostica lay to the north of the Veneto, renowned for it's human sized chess board.
Soon Freki and Sonata arrived and in time Clio and Else. Else had been repairing a boat for Etiene Epee, a knight of the House of Summer. In passing he mentioned that another of the House of Winter had turned up, murdered, and that the night patrols would be upped to find the killer, but that Else should keep and eye out
Else informed the motley that she had also seen some other strange things in the Museo Correr. She had gone to research the creation of astrolabes, globes and other devices for the studying of the stars. It was here that she witnessed a strange being, seemingly unseen by the tourists. It was like a large fly, with translucent skin, and with skin, tattered, trailing as if it were wearing some cape. However, when it was almost spotted it morphed and turned to stone, nothing more than another piece of Greek stone work from the ancient times.
With the motley gathered they learned that Ralph and his krewe deal with ghosts on a pretty regular basis, but that his team were off on other business and that he had to stay to deal with the coming Carneval and the issues with the two ghostly doges. He explained that in the south of Venice cases of illness due to what looks like the plague, had been increasing. He suggested that for them to work out what was going on and to save the woman that perhaps they were best off going to the Casino Degli Spiriti, the House of the Spirits, and consult with the ghosts that gather there.
That night at the House of the Spirits, the troupe prepared to enter. They had approached from the north on boat, the house looks out onto the lagoon, and has always had legends about ghosts and spirits and murders.
The motley stood outside the gardens of the House. It was dark and foggy and cold, and the house looked imposing and with a life of its own. Wooden shutters flapped in the wind. Else reached out and touched the lock of the garden gate and the lock crumbled and the gate swung open and squeaking hinges. The motley headed in led by Stitches, with Else bringing up the rear. With each step they were bombarded with strange sensations. Crows gathered, voices whispered for them to leave, statues moved, and Else saw visions of her time in Arcadia, the experiments and the pain and the abuse. She was wracked with pain and she became panicked.
The haunting ended and at the door to the house a figure in 16th century garbed wave to them to enter. In the house they watched ghost of all periods, and in all states, dancing to the tune of the ghostly waltz. Their host offered them drink, food and entertainment, and then after some time, he spoke of the island of Poveglia, the plague which he lived through, the mad doctor and the asylum. If there is a gate to the Underworld and something to do with the plague it makes sense it would be that one that is open since old ghosts, the plague dead, have been seen wondering Venice, hungry.