Saturday, September 5, 2015

Echoes: Piacenza - Season 2 Episode 42

Justicar Rinaldo in his younger years.

Legato Reunited! Well, A Quorum, Anyway. 

Game Summary for Echoes Book 02: S02E042

Echoes Book 02 is a continuation of a more narrative-oriented campaign (almost no rules, all aspects-based interpretation) that now uses D&D 5E rules.


Piacenza: La citta Spezzata

RINALDO
I'm not the only one seeing this, am I?
OSHA
No. What is it?
As Rinaldo, Osha, and Fierra cross over on the way back from the Palazzo di Sovrino, the sky has taken on a strange rippled appearance, as if some thing or things beyond the range of vision are casting shadows on it from above. The daylight has thus become bizarre as well, with erratic patches of sun and shade. The effect is oppressive and - to Rinaldo, at least - somewhat dreadful, but the citizenry seem to be, if not quite untroubled, at least unsurprised by it.
RINALDO
Fierra? Are you seeing it, too?
FIERRA
Oh, yes, it's noontime. Actually, I expected your - talk - to last longer.
RINALDO
So this is normal, at noontime?
(as Fierra looks at him quizzically)
I've been away so long.
FIERRA
It's become normal, in recent times. I suppose it's one of the drawbacks of our lack of involvement in Scienza - no one knows why it happens, but it's harmless.
RINALDO
Oh, so we don't really have Scienzans. You were never - interested, yourself?
FIERRA
We both had our childhood curiosity, but I'm much better suited in my capacity.
RINALDO
And me?
FIERRA
(inexplicably amused)
Well, you're Scienzan now, aren't you?
(while Rinaldo is pretending to get the joke)
We are heading now to the Ordine della Ore Perse, Osha, and I'm afraid entry is restricted to persons of a certain clearance level. You understand.
OSHA
So Rinaldo is a person of a certain clearance level?
FIERRA
He must not have felt he was allowed to tell you: he is Chief Justicar of Giustizia.
OSHA
He's what?
RINALDO
(pretending not to be equally astonished)
Amazing, isn't it?
OSHA
But - How - ?
RINALDO
Amazing, isn't it?

Ordine della Ore Perse, Distretto di Giustizia - shortly

Osha having agreed to wait outside, Fierra and Rinaldo are waiting in an office.
FIERRA
I sent word. We're early, but the Paladino della Primo Ora should be here soon.
RINALDO
Do I normally take longer, when - I visit the Doge? Do I normally visit the Doge?
FIERRA
(giving her cousin a wry look)
I’d say you're playing a dangerous game with all these women, but do I have to?
VITTORIO
(entering)
Justicar Rinaldo, what a privilege and relief to see you again.
RINALDO
Pallladddino? Vito?
VITTORIO
Signorina Cardano, I apologize for making you wait. As you know, we were not certain when Rinaldo would arrive, but all has been arranged now that he has.
FIERRA
I'll leave him in your capable hands, then, Paladino Vittorio.
(to Rinaldo)
I'll be waiting outside when you're done.
Fierra steps out.
VITTORIO
Are you well, old friend? I hope the assignment was not too troublesome for you.
RINALDO
Oh, well, I've had a day or so to - Rest and Recover.
VITTORIO
(evidently oblivious to Rinaldo's attempted prompt)
Oh, yes, I hear you've even had time to - pay a visit, hmm?
Rinaldo feigns laughter. Vittorio seems surprised that his teasing was understood.
VITTORIO
Ah, the memory blocks have begun to degrade, have they? Well, that is all to the good; it should make the restoration procedure go even more smoothly.
RINALDO
The restoration - ?
A servitor appears and murmurs something to Vito, who looks annoyed.
VITTORIO
Please forgive me, Justicar Rinaldo; a pressing matter requires my attention. I should return shortly. Why not take the opportunity to stretch your legs a bit?
Mystified but obedient for now, Rinaldo loiters outside Vito's office, where he runs into Lia Tanzi, dressed in the same sort of semi-armored uniform as Vito. She introduces herself - so he pretends not to know her - and invites him into her own office for a spot of tea, while waiting.
LIA
Some crackers? I'd love to offer you something more substantial, but we wouldn't want to compromise the restoration procedure, would we?
RINALDO
No, of course we wouldn't.
LIA
May I ask? I know the overlay will be examined - meticulously, I assure you - but as a matter of departmental pride: no one doubted you were a scientist?
RINALDO
Not - to my knowledge - Is that what your department does? Forgive me - my memory, as you know - I was given to understand we don't have much Scienza.
LIA
Please, there is nothing to forgive; it is hardly surprising you don't remember! I am Paladino della Secondo Ora; my office is concerned with acquired knowledge - such as Scienza, but by no means exclusively so - while Paladino Vito's department focuses on the more primal foundations of identity.
RINALDO
The first hour. I see.
LIA
Exactly. So while the core, construction, and application of the overlay - along with, of course, the preservation and restoration of your original identity - are under his auspices, I and mine were happy to help with the knowledge aspect.
RINALDO
And you did a wonderful job; thank you. May I ask what happens to the overlay?
LIA
It will be lifted and examined - all information recorded - and thereafter stored with great care. It's normal for you to perhaps be experiencing some attachment now, but once you are returned to your proper self, it will be a great relief.

(after a pause)

Do you really not remember me?
Just as Andrew is hollering that it's time for Rinaldo to get the hell out before he's lobotomized, Lia is summoned by another servitor. She tells Rinaldo to make himself comfortable - she'll have Vito informed where he is. She leaves the room, and Rinaldo immediately proceeds to stuff his face with all the protein and fat he can get his hands on.

An operating room - soon

RINALDO
Wait, wait, wait, are you telling me this procedure has never been tested?
HIRUDOTHERAPIST
Not at all, Justicar! We have performed extensive testing, and I assure you, this new technology of exsanguination with the leeches - which is only a portion of the overall procedure - has been approved by all relevant authorities of the Ordine.
VITTORIO
Nevertheless, this is the first use of the technique in an actual procedure?
HIRUDOTHERAPIST
(cheerfully)
Well, one must start somewhere, Paladino!
VITTORIO
You really think it is advisable for that "somewhere" to be on a Chief Justicar?
Ulea, the Paladino della Momento Perduta, clears his throat meaningfully.
VITTORIO
(who dislikes Ulea)
Regardless of being a personal friend, Justicar Rinaldo is not only a high-ranking official of Giustizia, but currently in possession of potentially-critical information. Things can go wrong - is that not why your presence is required, Paladino Ulea? It hardly seems the occasion for experimentation.
HIRUDOTHERAPIST
As I said, this is not experimentation, because we have already experimented, thoroughly! Paladino Vittorio, you signed off on the memo yourself.
Vito, who does not read his paperwork, guiltily shifts the focus of the argument. The hirudotherapist stands his ground. The Paladin of the Lost Moment harrumphs. Until -
ATTENDANT
Sirs, forgive me for interrupting, but we have another issue. I'm afraid the Justicar's stomach is not empty. There is protein; we cannot proceed.
HIRUDOTHERAPIST
What?
Ulea clears his throat.
VITTORIO
(irritated)
Well, of course he was informed not to eat for twenty-four hours, but it is hardly surprising if he did not remember! Memory blocks tend to do that. Rinaldo -
RINALDO
It was only a little bit.
HIRUDOTHERAPIST
But, Justicar, surely Director Cardano would not have permitted -
RINALDO
Yes, surely, but what is one to do when the Doge presses refreshments on them?
Before long, the procedure is canceled for the day, and Rinaldo is thankfully let up from the operating table. He and Vito begin heading out of the Ordine, Vito admonishing Rinaldo to have nothing but bread and water for the next 24 hours, so they can proceed the next day.
CESARE 
(fuming)
I demand to see him! Paladino! Paladino!
VITTORIO
Ah, Custode delle Cinque Venti, what a pleasant surprise.
CESARE
"Surprise"? "Surprise"! You know perfectly well I have been trying to see you for over a week now! Just because your department and mine do not see eye-to-eye -
VITTORIO
You mean, because Diplomazia wishes to make nice with the very villains who have taken over one of our sovereign districts, and Guistizia disagrees?
CESARE
No one is trying to "make nice"! The reality is, Savon has annexed Gran Lunga, and how are we to resolve that situation, if not through diplomacy?
VITTORIO
Yes, if we shake their hands the right way, they will give us back our territory.
CESARE
How dare you - Rinaldo? Is that you?
RinALDO
Cesare! It's so good to see you. In fine form, I see.
CESARE
As are you, of course; the years have treated us well. But where have you been?
Sneaking a peek at a mirror in passing, Rinaldo sees they are all some ten years older.
RINALDO
Oh, you know, here and there. Speaking of which, how goes the mapmaking?
CESARE
(suddenly even more furious)
How. Dare. You! You know I left that life behind, that - that - inconsequence! That foolishness! Are you calling me inconsequential and foolish?!
RINALDO
I'm really not -
CESARE
I thought you, at least, would be different! But no, you are all the same, you of Giustizia, accusing Diplomazia of harboring - what is that odious term you use? "Uglies"! I ask you, what could be uglier than bringing up a man's past, dredging up the matter of - I can barely bring myself to say the word - cartography!
VitTORIO
Custode Cesare, your indoor voice, please -
CESARE
(hollering)
I am using my indoor voice!
VITTORIO
If you could bring yourself, a moment, to listen to my indoor voice, you might hear me telling you that Justicar Rinaldo is currently suffering an impairment to his memory, and thus cannot be held responsible for any lack of delicacy -
CESARE
(in a stunningly abrupt Piacenzan mood shift)
Oh, I apologize! Is that what you and Paladino Vittorio were tending to, today? I am sorry; I heard that your endeavor was canceled for some reason. You must make sure that it is rescheduled promptly, lest you be subject to endless delays.
Cesare frowns meaningfully at Vito, as they step outside the building, where Fierra and Osha are waiting. Vito heroically refrains from rolling his eyes, and excuses himself.
VITTORIO
I will go see that all scheduling matters are put in order, shall I?
CESARE
Well, now that I understand, Rinaldo, of course you cannot be blamed for not recalling - that incident -
As he, Rinaldo, Osha, and Fierra begin to walk away, Cesare rocks on his heels. (What happens, really, is that Cesare’s consciousness plunges down from the Oneiral Zone into this Cesare!)
CESARE
Rinaldo! We're in Giustizia! Giustizia's not drowned!
(continues babbling cartographic observations)
RINALDO
Yes. No. Cesare? Wait. How do you know I'm the Rinaldo you trust?
CESARE
What other Rinaldo is there? Who are those people following us?
RINALDO
Those are your assistants, who accompanied you to see Paladino Vito -
CESARE
Vito? Vito is here? What is Vito doing here!? He is the anchor! How am I to return with you to the anchor from here, when Vito is the anchor and he is here!?
RINALDO
(lowering his voice)
Shut up, Cesare. He is not the Vito we know. This is not what we know.
CESARE
"Assistants"? You mean those are my thralls? I have thralls? I do not have -
Suddenly convinced that he is, himself, once more being enthralled by a Longlegs, Cesare crosses his arms and refuses to speak or budge. Rinaldo tries to explain what he knows.
FIERRA
Rinaldo? We should retire to the Hall, so you can rest for tomorrow.
RINALDO
Yes, but I ran into an old friend.
FIERRA
Cesare?
RINALDO
He has become unusually silent. Let us go somewhere and celebrate.
CESARE
If you show me your true face, Longlegs, I will tell you everything.
FIERRA  
(after a brief pause)
Rinaldo, will you excuse the two of us for a moment?
RINALDO
Oh, you know each other? Well, certainly.
Rinaldo takes the opportunity to whisper to Osha that this seems to be ‘their’ Cesare.
FIERRA
(hissing privately to Cesare)
We agreed that if we meet outside, after everything, we treat each other with dignity and respect! I told you, and I'm telling you again, and I need to believe it's for the last time: you chose - her. You cannot go commenting about my legs!
Cesare, who has never met Fierra, realizes he would never have mentioned her to a Longlegs.
CeSARE
Iiii - apologize! For any heartbreak I may have inadvertently caused.
FIERRA
(loudly)
Now, if you will excuse me, Custode, I must see to Justicar Rinaldo.
CESARE
"Justicar"?
RINALDO
Amazing, isn't it?
Rinaldo walks ahead with Fierra. Osha and Cesare hurriedly exchange information, although Cesare, characteristically, dithers for some time, until Osha cuts to the chase:
OSHA
What do you need me to do?
CESARE
Oh! Get Rinaldo, while I recreate the map to Salici, which will bring us to Vito.
OSHA
But Vito -
CESARE
The Vito of eight years ago, which is two and a half years from where we started, when the lightning happened. But first we must bring everyone together.
OSHA
(possibly sarcastically)
It's that simple?
CESARE
(oblivious to the possibility of sarcasm)
I am hoping it is that simple? At least this part should be.
Osha goes to fetch Rinaldo. Cesare starts to redraw his map, only to find that his ink seems to seep away into the air; they are, as Rinaldo hypothesized earlier, underwater.
CESARE
I need a way to keep my ink from dissipating!
CESARE's ring
(in a quite male voice)
I stand ready, Dapifer.
CESARE
Who's that? Who is talking to me? Are you talking to me?
CESARE'S RING
I am Mistral, Dapifer.
CESARE
I have a female thrall in my ring? How convenient!
With the help of "Miss Thrall", it's done! The trio travels through the Oneiral Zone - Osha felling some of the now-multiple Longlegs wandering about, calling Cesare's name - to Archiviare, where they are reunited with ‘their’ Vito. Everyone reverts to their 'normal' age.
All seems well, and much theorizing occurs, until Rinaldo realizes that they have left Eugen behind! Osha points out that not only he, but Mateo and the Savonians recovered their Violazione memories, and may also (being Savonian) be in danger from the authorities.
A re-rescue attempt is agreed upon, except that they need another anchor, since Vito is still serving as such for Master Juven, who has yet to return. Rinaldo recalls that his druid friend, Bernardo Matarellia, was heading for Archiviare when Rinaldo last saw him.
Sweet Jorge confirms that such a person is, in fact, known to be present in the area, albeit likewise known as a madman. Rinaldo contacts Bernardo druidically, and, despite indeed appearing not to be in possession of a complete set of marbles, Bernardo agrees to help, in exchange for Rinaldo's promise to help him plead for the Green Antlered God's benison.
Rinaldo ends up staying behind to keep an eye on Bernardo, but aside from that - for once - the travel through the Oneiral Zone goes off without a hitch. Then Osha and Cesare emerge into a miniature war zone! The Portinari residence is under siege by forces in Piacenzan livery, and curious liquids and lights fill the air, as the Savonians fight back.
HANS
(shouting)
We will protect you, Signor Zorsi!
OSHA
Cesare, are you sure we can only take Eugen? That is Via's father!
CESARE
He's alive?
OSHA
For now! And what about the Savonians? We can’t just leave them.
CESARE
All right, all right! I just need to adjust the specifications of the map - I need to make the requisite calculations - If I make a mistake, it could be - I need -
(shouting, after inspiration strikes)
Dietrich! Dietrich, tell me you're here!
Soon, with Osha and Hans coordinating, Cesare and Dietrich are huddled over the map.
DIETRICH
I do not understand the problem.
CESARE
See, the map - and thus the spell - was constructed for three or four, but now we are seventeen, and so all the parameters need to be adjusted to compensate for -
DIETRICH
No, I mean I do not understand why there is a problem.
CESARE
(staring at the map, which the mathematician has recalibrated in a minute or so)
Oh. Oh!
Before long, everyone is clustered together. However, there's one little problem.
MATEO
Thank you, my friends, but I cannot go with you.
HANS
Signor Zorsi, you cannot expect to reason with these mad people -
MATEO
If you are not here, they have no proof that I have been "harboring Savonians".
OSHA
That may not stop them from throwing you in jail, on suspicion.
MATEO
They might, or they might not be able to; this is Cultura, and I am Mateo Zorsi. But more importantly, what if Via comes? I have not seen my daughter in ten years; I will not have her come to find me, only to discover I have left her.
CESARE
I promise you, Signor, I will find your daughter.
MATEO
You are a friend of Rinaldo's and Osha's, so please do not think I do not trust you. Rather, I do. So after you have gotten my daughter to safety, you can get me.

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