In Which Incursion Effects Redound
Game Summary for Echoes Book 02 S01E02 & S01E03(played on September 6 & 13, 2014)
PIACENZA – VIOLAZIONE + DAYS
Far from over, the drastic incursion occurs at least twice more, with terrible results.
Among these, Dolce suffers the necessity of having to tear off her fish tail—ripping cartilage and all—and, staggering to shore on bloody human legs, finds a stony substance forming around her, such that she is encased in a termite-like mound.
Vittorio becomes not only gigantic, as he already was, but something of a primitive brute, with difficulty forming coherent trains of thought. Even in his fugue state, though, he is able to locate Dolce, break her loose, and get them both back home to Salvezza.
Salvezza then experiences only the tail end of a devastating tsunami that literally and evidently permanently submerges Scienza, Diplomazia, Giustizia, and the westernmost demesnes of Guerra. During the deluge, Dolce once again (temporarily) morphs into a mermaid—she and Vito are both what will be known as ‘il Cambiato’, the changed.
Many more people die. Of those who survive, many undergo secondary transformations, typically more painful and horrific—albeit, as discovered later, seemingly short-term—than the first ones, such that even more are then killed by the consequences of the transformation itself. Of those who survive that, some lucky few (well, after being repeatedly struck by lightning) have the essence of magic awakened within them.
VIOLAZIONE + WEEKS
Rinaldo is missing every member of his family except his cousin Fierra. Attempting to find her twin sister Alyanna with the help of a male friend of Fierra’s, they are attacked by one of the newly-formed street gangs, this one composed of reptilian-derived Cambiato. Fierra displays a stunning new ability to absorb and redirect energy attacks.
Cesare, meanwhile, has become the official survival guide for Hans, a few more of his Savonian scientist friends, and an assortment of hapless Piacenzans and displaced erstwhile tourists. He attempts to find them a new place of shelter, only to find it inhabited by a spider-themed fellowship headed by a certain Ebon Widow—none other than his beloved sister Goia, who either does not or pretends not to recognize him.
VIOLAZIONE + MONTHS
Viatriz, parents and brother all missing, has luckily managed to hold on to her family home and assume leadership of a quartet of young Piacenzan diplomats (after unluckily turning into a sort of human-sized praying mantis for a while). During a small riot of starving people trying to breach the Portinari manor, she discovers that her colleague Cosimo is some sort of Cambiato with a tail, while her other colleague Ariadne is simply a bitch. Via works various odd jobs to try to find her family and make ends meet.
On the larger scale, prices for everything have skyrocketed, what with the effects of the incursion on trade and industry. Law and order, while not entirely sundered, are at best challenged, especially with Salvezza about to close itself off as an independent district, as, before long, will every district save Commerzio, Cultura, and the Sovrino isle itself, which become an old-guard coalition known as La Citta Spezzata, the broken city.
Via, Rinaldo, Cesare, and—suspiciously—every single Sovrino that has been spotted to date are all ‘la Illeso’, the unharmed and, at least visually, untouched by the incursion.
Even more troubling, to say the least, is the arrival of ‘il Morti’, the Piacenzan dead, who: seemingly cannot be killed, as much as possible avoid interacting with the living, and come to inhabit the former districts of Archiavare and Finanza, the latter of which is now called il Giardino, having inexplicably become a flourishing garden. A subset of il Morti are those who died from the Violazione and returned to life; these can be killed, and occasionally kill, as they tend to be belligerent and (understandably) resentful.
More strangely yet, a collection of domes has risen over the prior site of drowned Scienza, while a gauzy, yet impenetrable canopy has appeared over what was once Diplomazia—now ‘il Sudario’, the Shroud. Further, a mysterious bright light emanates from Water and Far Water (Acqua and Gran Lunga), which have both become not just politically but physically and communication-wise cut off from the other districts.
VIOLAZIONE + 1 YEAR
With the introduction of magic into Piacenza, more and more magical or magic-altered items have begun to be found—these are referred to as ‘Refined’—giving rise to the new trade of treasure-hunting, since Refined items command a high market price, and people are still far from recovered, financially or otherwise, from the cataclysm.
This being legalistic Piacenza, rules quickly sprang up regulating the use of magic—still fairly nebulous, in general—as well as requiring licenses for treasure-hunting. Through her months of work and bureaucratic savvy, Via was able to acquire a permit for her group, only for said group to quickly splinter apart in an argument over the allocation of some earnings for house maintenance (Via = for, others led by Ariadne = against).
With the other three going three separate ways, Via is alone for a while until she is visited by Vito and her pal Dolce, fresh from an emotional parting from their father, who implored them to go find their mother, apparently last seen heading off to Cultura in a huff after a vicious argument. Via regretfully informs them that their aunt’s old house—Mama’s stated destination—has been taken over by opportunistic squatters, but hopefully invites them to form a treasure-hunting crew with her.
They agree, and all three reap the rewards—the luxury of time and funding to seek their various loved ones—of a successful exploit or two, until they run afoul of a spellcaster. Because Some People Whose Names Rhyme With ‘Ria’ cannot just cut their losses, they try making a go at the jellyfish-headed magic-user time and again, only to be brought down by the awesome, incomprehensible, and puissant might of a Sleep spell.
Via suggests taking on a spellcaster or two of their own. Dolce readily agrees. Vito reluctantly agrees, after which he proceeds to unwittingly menace the streets of Cultura, being an eight-foot-tall man, armed with a large Smaul, demanding to know whether citizens practice the only-recently and rather-vaguely regulated use of magic.
Luckily, in the course of one of her jobs, Via overhears a couple of restaurant patrons discussing no less than magic! One of these proves to be Rinaldo, who, with Scienza both drowned and closed, has relocated to Cultura to look after his cousin, who is depressed nearly to the point of catatonia, and says little other than, “She’s alive; I know it. I hear her under the water.” His parents, alas, are confirmed to be deceased.
The other fellow is Cesare, whose parents as well as his semi-romantic friend Sali have yet to be located, but he seems to be distracting himself with a characteristically obsessive new interest in “charting” magical ability. Managing to worm (or bludgeon) her way into their conversation, Via eventually drags them home with her, and they are offered a ‘tryout period’ with the crew, providing they agree to allocating some funds to the house.
After some confusion and misfires, the jellyfish magic-user is soon prevented from spellcasting by a combination of mental detection, flashing lights and colors, entangling brambles, and one big-ass Smaul. Pearls are acquired, substantial funds converted, and, officially, a crew is born.