Changeling: the Lost
Venice: Broken Masks, Shattered Dreams
Episode 5 - Shadow - part 3
Following her premonition, and her shocking view of her future, Else led the motley to the where her boat was docked and together with Stitches, Sonata and Freki they headed south and east towards the Lido.
Arriving on the scene of the most recent death the motley began to scope out the luxurious hotel. The film producer had fallen to his death from the balcony of the fourth floor suite. He had hit the ground near the fountain in the gardens. Police were on the scene and a police tent was up over the body. Sonata once more called on his contracts, allowing fog to mask his movement, and for shadows to become darker and for his passing to be only shown by a trail of cigarette smoke stains. He inhumanely crawled over the walls of the garden and up the walls of the hotel to the roof where he crept to the balcony of the apartment and from where he watched the police taking photos and samples from the scene.
Stitches meanwhile attempted to gain access more mundanely as he approached the officers on guard and attempted to convince them the he was a police investigator and doctor. However, the police soon asked such questions that Stitches could not respond to, and he quickly backed away into the crowd before the situation got any worse.
While waiting, Freki and Else spotted something unusual. Freki detected the hint of turpentine in the air, and Else witnessed a man pass through the crowd, and noted that with each step his form bled into the ground. But the figure was soon gone and untraceable. It was while looking that they both spotted another stranger talking to one of the few reporters already on the scene. She was wearing a large fur coat, and rose vines were wrapped about her figure. She was indeed one of the Lost, known as Madame Rose Blood. She explained that she has the ear of the media and took the motley elsewhere to talk. She revealed what little details she knew about the death from the reporters, and that she surprised that the House of Autumn had sent a motley so soon. Else revealed her prediction, and so in response Rose contacted Malvolio, her new superior since the death of the last Duke of Spring.
Malvolio was awoken by the knock on the door to his chambers. He took the message and woke Clio, and explained what had happened and that she was needed with her motley and that he would join her. Together they dressed and left for the Lido.
Meanwhile Sonata had made his way into the hotel suite and was having a good look round. He had found the man’s diary, which was certainly quite the read, as the last few weeks’ worth of pages had turned into the most horrific mad ramblings. He had also located the man’s receipts and accounts. Hopefully there would be some sign of the paintings being the cause of all this. It was while in the lounge of the suite, that Sonata was confronted by another. The man had seemingly come from the main door to the suite, and appeared to be another investigator. But then the man’s smile grew wide with pointed teeth, the room itself turned into the strange place of bleeding colours. The man dropped his brief case and from his ever growing darker form produced a bloody knife. ‘Time to cut your ribs out!’ it hissed.
Sonata made to steal the brief case, thinking he was the quicker, but as he ran he became dizzy, the figure flickered like a flame made of shadow, and Sonata found that his body could not run. He was tied down by the fear that wracked his body, and that it felt as though he was running though treacle. This nightmare had become real. Very real. The figure lashed out and the knife slashed across Sonata’s chest, causing a stream of crimson blood to trail out. Sonata turned to run away, but the distance to the balcony felt like a mile as the fiend cut at his back. Sonata flung himself over the balcony and ran, his feet sticking to the walls. He looked back and there was no sign of the creature, and the world was once more normal. He fled for the boat and the rest of his motley.
At the boat the motley were shocked to see Sonata, cut almost to ribbons. Stitches attended to his injuries and staunched the bleeding and eased the man’s pain. Eventually they were joined by Clio and Malvolio who were equally horrified by what Sonata told them. Malvolio called upon his contracts of Spring and breathed fresh life into the changeling, healing the wounds of Sonata. Stitches silently fumed as his rival had once more upstaged him.
Seeing the urgency of the situation Malvolio opened a gate into the Hedge and led the motley through, taking straight to the hotel, and from there up to the suite. Malvolio effortlessly removed the guards, calling on his Fairest contracts. Once within the suite they began to investigate further, revealing that the man had bought two painting. They found a locked room, and under his bed pillow there were signs of a vial of nightmare poison. Sonata was sure that the key lay in the mirrors of the room, but that was quickly dismissed as they motley made their way into the locked room. Inside they found the man’s art collection. There were many books but not the paintings they were looking for. It then dawn on them that the pillar in the middle of the room was in fact a secret room, and within were the two paintings and above a sky light.
The motley had figured that the clue was in ‘Sine Sole Sileo’, that without light the paintings did not work. That now that light had touched their surfaces that they were gateways to Arcadia. They had also discovered and concluded that the man who had painted them had done so as part of some pledge to save his wife, and that the cost had been his bloodline. It was a clever pledge but now finally enacted. They tore the paintings down and argued what to do. Some thought to destroy them, but realised to do so may well make things even worse. Others thought that they should just throw them to the depths of the Venetian lagoon. It was then that the fiend once more attacked. The painting flipped up from the floor and the clawed arms reached through to grab at Sonata’s legs. The others braced him and the fiend let go.
p; Malvolio told them to stay on guard as he went to call for help from the others of the Freehold. As he did so, they all looked on at the scene of the martyrdom of Saint Paul. In doing so Stitches was sure he could see deeper in to the painting. He could see the darkness if the forest, and then beyond the cave. Stitches looked about and realised the horrifying truth. He was in the painting on the path to the cave. Above him dark things shrieked and looked on with glowing eyes. And from the mouth of the cave came screams.
The rest of the motley looked on in disbelief as they saw that Stitches was no in the painting. Thinking quickly they searched the apartment for some sort of twine or ribbon and Freki and Else dived into the painting.
At the cave Stitches went in, and in the gloom of what little candle light there was he could see a man tied to a stone altar and behind him a large clock of bone. The dark fiend moved about the man. With its talon it etched out the Roman numeral for 12 on the man’s forehead and prepared to cut him open and take his ribs. Stitches rushed forward with, brandishing his iron dagger, and he was soon joined with Freki, the wolf like Beast snarling. They struck out at the fiend, even as the world around them swirled in madness as the fiend took control of his realm. Lashing out at the fiend it fled in terror as cold iron tore into it. Knowing that the clock was a device of evil Freki launched the random pebble the motley had made their pledge upon. It shown with fae light, more life an emerald than a pebble, and it struck the clock.
The clocked chimed. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. It then chimed out 13.
The clock crumbled, and fell to pieces. The group released the man and followed the ribbon all the way back to a pool where they saw Sonata and Clio, who had also fought hard not to fall into the other realm.
They escaped back into the real world and the painting fell silent. The gateways were closed. The nightmare was over and the rib killer gone.
On a sea of dreams, fear and nightmares the twisted galleon, the Leviathan, was battling against the elements. Onboard stomped the fearsome Fae Lord, Commodore Fathom. From his lobster liked mandibles he clicked and bellowed.
‘Come on you dogs! Full cover! To Venice!’