Changeling: the Lost
Venice: Broken Masks, Shattered Dreams
Episode 3 - Skulls - parts 3
The motley having regrouped with Freki set out to the island of Poveglia. The island lay to the south west tip of the Lido, a wedge shaped island split in half by a canal. The southern tip of the island was the remains of the fort and the rest of the island consisted of the retirement home and hospital, and apparent asylum. On their approach across the cold dark waters of the Venetian lagoon they could see the tower of the old church. From the tower the beam of light from the lighthouse shone out in the dark. To both Venetians and visitors to the city the island of Poveglia is off limits.
Else piloted the small boat to the docks of the island and the motely disembarked. Before them was the complete darkness of the trees and buildings, save for the lighthouse carving light out into the lagoon. They made their way to the main grounds and began their search for the gateway to the Underworld.
As they searched the grounds the moans of the dead could be heard. The decaying wooden shutters on the windows flapped about, but it was through the use of Kenning, that ability of those touched by the Fae to perceive the more supernatural and magical, that Freki found the open gateway to the Underworld.
The gateway was at the foot of the tower, where legend has it that the mad doctor fell to his death, only to be taken by the dead of the island. The gateway was a spiraling staircase of black stone down into the dark. Along the way skulls and bones and candles dotted the pathway. Pieces of Roman and Baroque stone work made up the walls and of course the air within moved as if the entire tunnel was breathing.
To begin, Sonata, invoking the clause of his Contract of Darkness, clambered down, the others following using torches. Soon enough the tunnel began to turn and come level, with water appearing at the base of the tunnel until they were following a path along an underwater canal. Shades moved about, not seeing the group, while offerings to the dead sat resided in alcoves. Fungus illuminated the dark and Venitian bridges dotted the canal. It was then that they felt power of the weird bind them to a pledge, and the very power of Death was tied to them. Sonata theorized that if they were bound to death by a pledge did that mean all things die, even the Fae. Soon enough they came to a large opening where there were three routes forward. One smelt of decay and from it flies buzzed. The next had the sounds of parting and the sound of violins. The last had the sounds of screams and the entrance was tiled and stained.
Unsure which route to take the motley asked a shade nearby. The man was stood on the arch of a bridge and repeatedly hanging himself. Again and again they watched his neck break. The motley approached, and as they questioned him about the man they were seeking and the woman he became interested in the earrings of Clio. In exchange for the information she handed over the green jewelry and he directed them to the hospital, via the tunnel of stained tiles.
The tunnel to the hospital was like any corridor in a hospital. But it was darker, the smell of iodine and bile. It was lined with the rusting doors to other rooms from which the dead wailed. Lights flickered and beds lay over turned. At the end of the tunnel they found an enormous cavern. Before them was what looked like a dry river bed. As they approached they could feel the cold air from it and soon it was clear that it was a river of ice cold clear water. On the over side of the wide river were the twisting concrete spires of the hospital. From the highest tower light shone out like a lighthouse. From even this distance the motley could hear the mad screams of the patients.
Sonata could hear the moans of chanting from nearby. He edged along the bank of the river and found another small cave. Within was a host of monks and priests. They preformed numerous prayers, a mad priest with stitched lips groaned from the lectern. The walls were adorned with images of from all faiths. Those praying were doing so until they bled from hands and head and lips. Sonata, overcome by what he saw fled the scene and returned to the motley.
Meanwhile Freki and Stitches had tasted the cold waters of the river. Unknown to them it was the river of fate, something the Freki remembered from her life before her abduction. Both saw images of their future. Stitches witness the hordes of the dread Fae, Commodore Fathom, with his mandible, lobster like face and his ship the Leviathan. He also saw the bloodied and butchered figure of the Spring Courtier, Malvolio, and a sense of the blade being in his own hands and a sense of justice. Freki also had similar visions. She saw the shattering of a clock made of bones and of her being taken by two crow faced changelings.
Soon a boat approached, a gondola piloted by a skeletal figure wearing old Renaissance armor. He offered them passage so long as they returned a book from the living world for him.