Dresden Files: Venice
Dr Helen Magnus looks slghtly embaressed as it becomes apparant that the cabin cruiser is stuck fast on the mud flats just of Isola de Vignole in the mouth of the Venice lagoon. Whilst Gina Tortelli complains very vocally that it was not her fault, Luca Porrini and Dolores Alegra Malspina just look faintly embaressed. With the tide still receeding, despite the fact that the high spring tide is due very soon, the group decide to abandon ship and head to the islaned, from where they may still get a glimpse of Garros when he arrives in the lagoon to spawn, an event due some time tonight. Changing form in the cabin below and with his clothes safely packed in a bag, Luca flies the three ladies the short distance to the island and whilst they wait changes and dresses behind a bush. The group head along the concrete wall which forms the edge of the island, passing a number of farmsteads, all of which are in darkness and collecting a few apples from a small orchard. Gina vaguely recalls the topography ofthe island and leads the group to the northern end, where a set of old fortifications look aout across the deep water channel, atop which an old watchtower provides an elevated vantage point.
Luca Porrini once again provides the ladies with a lift, and soon the group are exploring the derelict tower whose windows are long since broken, and the floor of which is covered in evidence of seagull habitation. Looking out, the entire island appears to be in darknes, not to unusual given it is nearly 3am, but smething that does give a little concern, only a faint illumination from the base of the tower shining on the water indicates any sign of habitation. As they watch for the arrival of Garros, Dolores Alegra Malspina and Gina Tortelli hear the faintist droning noise coming from below. With little real interest in squid watching, they leave Luca and Dr Magnus atop the tower and head down through the abandoned middle levels to the bottom. There shielded by a veil cast by Dolores the two woman approach the main door to the boat dock.
Left alone Dr Magnus casually asks Luca Porrini how the meeting with his father went, Luca’s reply is non-comittal, although he is somewhat interested when she asks whether has he shown any indication of latent teleportation powers, not something he had even considered.
Dolores Alegra Malspina and Gina Tortelli come across nearly a hundred people gathered in the boat dock, surrounding a dozen or so robed and masked figures, and chanting in an ancient language. As they watch, the chanting tails off, when to everyone’s amazement, first one, then several enourmous tentacles emerge, waving, from the water. Several of the assembled cultists immediately fade into the background, heading for the exit, as this was obviously not to their taste. Gina’s prompt phone call alerts Luca Porrini and Dr Magnus and they quickly join the ladies in the shadows of the room. It seems the cultists are at a loss what to do next, the actual success of their ritual was obviously not expected by anyone, a mixture of awe, curiosity and fear sweeps through both the general group, and the robed figures. Gina realises that Garros is not simply a large squid, he exists primarily in the Nevernever and occasionally crosses over for whatever reason. Slowly the creatures head emerges from the water, its huge mouth lined with multiple rows of teeth, its great dark eyes scanning the crowd, and one word emerges with a harsh rasp “Strangers!”. With the crowd turning towards them, Dr Magnus walks boldly out to examine the creature more closely and illicits a rather indignant cry of “Dr Magnus” from one of the robed and masked figures. A potential confrontation is averted with a cry of fear and pain from upstairs.
Heading towards the man who called her name, Dr Magnus approaches and incredulously identifies Raul deTisi, professor of anthropology at Venice university. He along with several of the faculty have a copy of an ancient plate and are engaging in some ‘practical anthropolgy’ along with the inhabitants of the island (Unfortunately it turns out the copy of the ritual is incomplete!). Meanwhile the majority of the ‘cultists’ have fled and Gina Tortelli and Luca Porrini have headed upstairs to the source of the scream. The rooms upstairs are flooded with an inky blackness which Gina counters with conjured flickering torchlight. Emerging from the stygian gloom come half a dozen creatures (each the bastard child of a shark, ray and rottweiler). THey turn towards the pair, their wide mouths filled with rows of teeth and with barbed tails swinging. Switching forms, Luca throws himself at the nearest creature slashing his claws into it. Gina takes a moment to assess the creatures, deciding they are probably fey, and therefore vulnerable to light and iron, so with a wave of her hand she increases the light level. With that a general mellee breaks out, Luca and Gina battling the creatures, and buying time for the islanders to escape above ground. Luca rips the first one apart and turns on another, whilst Gina grabs an iron bar and beats another to near pulp before incinerating it with conjured fire.
Downstairs Dr Helen Magnus has started berating Proffesor Raul deTisi, venting her spleen over his irresponsible experimental anthropolgy and demanding to know everything he does about the giant squid Garros. Her academic enquiries become a little superflouous as Garros grabs the nearest ‘cultist’ waves him around in the air and plops him into his maw! There is a general sprint for the exits at this point, and Dr Helen Magnus trips as she tries to escape. Dolores Alegra Malspina helps her to her feet, and turns to try and intimidate the creature into dropping the academic it has grabbed, she fails and he follows the other man into the gapping mouth before the giant creature slips below the waves.
With Garros‘s departure, the rift between worlds closes absorbing the darkness and the nightmare creatures from upstairs. Luca Porrini rises to his feet as he finishes off the third of the creatures he has killed, but at that point realises he has been ’’scratched’’, and the injury is starting to burn; he feels light headed and staggers against a wall. Gina Tortelli and Dr Magnus rush to his aid before he colapses to the floor.
With Luca Porrini‘s heart rate racing from the toxin, Dr Helen Magnus sets to work, cleaning the wound and extracting the venom. Eventually Luca is stabilised and able to stand and walk with some assistance. With the residents of the island scattering back to their homes, Gina Tortelli, Dolores Alegra Malspina and Dr Magnus help Luca back to thier boat, which is now afloat again, and they head back to Venice. Dolores has to open the shop soon so heads home to sleep, whilst the others take an early breakfast at the cafe. Whilst there Gina spot a young woman with the strange large wrap-around sunglasses, they have seen about the city recently. Dr Magnus thinks she is a drone, a natural human/insect hybrid and quite rare. With breakfast done, the group head home to their respective beds for some well earned sleep, Luca is surprised and ’’severely enchanted’’ to discover Cossette waiting for him in his bed.