Dresden Files: Venice
When Hell Freezes Over
When Hell Freezes Over
‘’A white marble room, the floor of which is decorated with a complex pattern, that remains tantilisingly out of focus. As Dolores Alegra Malspina watches, a woman enters, pushing a cleaning cart. She pulls forth a mop and after squeezing off the excess water begins to mop the floor. Looking up she appears to see something and freezes: solid! Slowly she topples to the floor and smashes into a thousand pieces, which slowly melt into individual puddles.’’
Wintery squalls blowing are over Venice, leaving snow, ice, and frozen pavements in their wake. Dolores Alegra Malspina awakes with a start and a deep weight on her legs, which turns out to be Mr Tiddles.
Declining to use her own abilities, Dolores Alegra Malspina asked Nina DaCosta to accompany her into one of the Ponte Antico shop’s more discrete storerooms to talk with the spirits of her ancestors. There she learned that Jacapo Malspina knew of the Academy of the Vatican Nights and had also made some masks for Mab in the late 16th century. They also suggested that the mosaic floor could be found in the Palazzo Venier de Leoni. When Gina Tortelli checked this on her laptop she found it to be the current location of the Peggy Guggenhiem Museum.
Leaving Nina DaCosta in charge of the Ponte Antico shop (and a message for Luca Porrini to meet them), Dolores Alegra Malspina and Gina Tortelli headed for the Peggy Guggenhiem Museum. There the three of them rapidly discovered that they are in the right place, when they discover one of the gallerys is locked, sealed with police tape, and the door guarded by a policeman. Approaching the officer Luca unfortunately failed to get any real information from him. The three then headed into the sculpture garden where they admired the variety of displays, and found amongst them s work by Delilah entitled ‘Fallen Angel’. Slightly spooked by the fact it had been there for several decades and possessed a number of aspects (including ‘’Essence of a Fallen Angel’’), they retreated to the museum cafe. After a re-invigorating coffee, Dolores had an idea and bought a guide book. It showed a picture of the sealed room and the mosaic on the floor, which Gina tentatively identified as an Ice Drake. With plenty of people around, the three could find no easy way of getting into the locked gallery and therefore satisfied themselves with simply casing the area in preperation for a return visit that night.
The weather had deteriorated considerably by the late eveing when Luca Porrini, Dolores Alegra Malspina and Gina Tortelli meet up close to the museum, dressed and equipped for a surruptitious entry. Dolores had made preperations for the entry, having spent a few hours in the afternoon inscribing arcane systems onto Luca. Thus when Luca dropped out of his clothes with a shiver, Dolores was able to enact a simple spell making him difficult to spot. Then with a shrug Luca smoothly swapped form and carried Gina over the museum wall and into the garden with barely a single sweep of his powerful wings. Leaving her in the shadows he returned back over the wall to collect Dolores. Left alone in the garden, Gina shivered and took shelter under a tree from where she was sure she noted movement in the garden. She was glad therefore when Luca and Dolores returned and the three could make their way to the external toilet door.
Tensing herself, Dolores Alegra Malspina extended her sorcerous power allowing it to flow into the door and its associated security systems, which failed with a flufft! With a wry smile at Dolores expression of “I wish this door where open”, Gina Tortelli focussed her concentration and eventually managed to evoke a spell which sprang the lock open (but left herself with a minor case of ‘’Twitchy Fingers’‘. Accompanied by Luca Porrini in were-form, the ladies slipped inside and made their way to the door leading into the internal corridor. There, once again Dolores exteded her power to short out any security systems before the three moved into the corridor and then as quietly as they could, into the previously off limits gallery. There with the aid of torches they could make out the mosaic in the middle of the floor; a writhing creature amidst a complex geometric pattern. Dolores opened her mind to the sight, and the complex ’Knot of Lyvorathin’ sprang into view (along with another object in the darkness on the far side of the room, which she ignored), as she concentrated she began to percieve the mosaics aspects of ‘’The Prison of One Word’’ and its connections to many things beyond the immediate vicinity. Meanwhile Gina had begun to study the mosaic more closely and determined it was a magical construct providing power based upon the imprisonment of a Fae creature, most probably an Ice Drake. They were just considering leaving when Luca heard footsteps (female high heels) approaching, switching off the torches they waited silently in the darkness (with Dolores rendering herself invisible) and waited to see what would happen. The female figure stood in the dim light of the doorway and after a few moments spoke, apparantly being aware of who was in the room already. Eventually Gina and Luca turned their torches on, illuminating a slender figure, daringly dressed (or undressed if you prefer) who introduced herself as Marchesa Luisa Casati. An exchange of pleasantries led to the woman inviting the three intruders to her place for a glass of champagne, which after a degree of hesitation they agreed to. Following her along the main corridor, Luca noted the characteristics of her walk which reminded him of someone else, Delilah. At the end of the corridor she reached up to the frame of a picture and pressed a concealed button, the picture swung aside and she led them down a marble and brass staircase into the depths of the building. The stairs opened up into a sumptuous room, decorated with art works, sculpture and expensive antique furniture. Heading to one of the drinks cabinets the Marchesa produced a bottle of champagne and several glasses.
Settling themselves in several of the plush and comfortable armchairs (or chaise longe in the case of Marchesa Luisa Casati) the four began a very civilised discusion whilst Luca Porrini opened the champagne. Taking the time to observe her hostess, Gina Tortelli interestingly determined that she possessed the aspect ‘’whatever you desire’’
Deciding they needed to sort out exactly what they had learnt, Dolores Alegra Malspina, Gina Tortelli and Luca Porrini sat down in the backroom of the Ponte Antico shop. Researching ‘the knot of Lyvorathin’ they discovered it was attributed to Gavino Lyvorathin, a 15th century Roman renowned for his research into theoretical magic (he was also a member of the Academy of the Vatican Nights). It was whilst doing this that Dolores remembers that shew saw a second magical item in the room when she observed the mosaic in the Peggy Guggenhiem Museum. A little mundane research indicates it is a painting of Lorenzo Boschetti, the architect of the Palazzo Venier de Leoni. When Luca Porrini arrives at the shop bearing the note that was slipped under his door, the ladies realise that it is missing a digit, and should read “a story 100,000 nights in the making”. After further discussion, they persuade Luca to open the Crystal Coffin, this does however take a while. They are all surprised when Diana di Cordona takes a breath! Taking a few moments to get her bearings, she answers thier questions quietly and slowly, it quickly becomes apparant that although alive she is paralysed from the neck down. She was placed in the coffin by Cesare Gonzaga, to allow her to wait for a time when she could be healed. He has opened it about once a century to check on her, the last time in 1914. Realising she has little information on their current predicament they allow her to go back to sleep. While Claudia De Tisi Mortinengo (who has awoken when the coffin was opened) has a cup of coffee with Nina DaCosta, Gina attemps to use her phone to reach Cesare Gonzaga, getting instead Mistress she finally deduces that Cesare was/is her father!
Claudia de Tsi is out of the coffin and having a cup of coffee with Nina.
Cesar was last seen going to visit Mab 14 years ago. Maybe hes in a time differential?
Nina asks to stay the night, its forecast to be very cold. Just as the group agrees ot visit the Guggenheim tomorrow, their is a rattling outside at the shop door. Approaching there is large mass of snow and ice, a malevolent Unseeli Ice fiend!
Dolores wishes it were warmer, which gives Gina the necessary power to hold back the onslaught of cold. She also realises that this is a manifestation of the dragon. Dolores + Luca rush to the room with the alter the application of some of Luccas plod brings it to life and enables Dolores to lock the creature out.
Nina brings coffee but Gina is chilled to the bone. Take some time to think about the knot spell. It is unseeli magic so must have a time limit or some key that cause it to become unraveled. We suspect that is was ‘programmed’ to last until the last member of the Academy of the Vatican Nights died. Unfortunately it seems that some sort of grey area and the spell can’t decide the last member of the academy is dead or not and so all the strange effects. /we know the portrait of Bosketti is magical, so the group decide they need to visit it again. The first the group decide to investigate Boscetties tomb in the church he designed.
Heading to the church of San Barnaba, Dolores Alegra Malspina, Gina Tortelli and Luca Porrini found the square in front of the church deserted, not surprising given the intense cold.When the group arrive Dolores uses the Sight to uncover the fact that the whole building was designed specifically to ward out the Fey and that there is a diffused aura of life force in the building.
Lucca is persuaded to push open the tomb. While he is doing it he notices the inscription on the sarcophagus, on a book held by the image of Boscettie on the top of the tomb. The inscription reads ‘The heart is the key’ in latin.. There was no corpse in the tomb, instead radiant light is being emitted by a crystalline heart in a box. The Dragons Heart.
The group is approached by the Priest, he doesn’t seem phased by the heart and will not confirm or deny he is SR Bosketti. We sit down and tell him everything. He insists “the Academy of the Vatican Nights are no more” and that’s probably a good thing.It turns out ****** Malspina started the destruction of the by making the instruments of their destruction – the masks. Gina is confused as to what to do and prays for guidance, A Nun approaches her.
Dolores takes the box and says ‘ heart’ the box quivers and when it is opened the heart is gone. The group decides to go for coffee to see what unfolds. Gina wants to invite the priest along, but he declines, he says he is expecting a visitor.
Go outside it seems a little warmer, the weather was returning no normal . There’s a woman in the square, waiting outside the cathedral, Dolores recongnies her as Mab – Queen of Winter. Dolores leads the group in curtsying and bowing politely before exiting the square as quickly as possible, leaving Mab to approach the cathedral.