We have a little treat today – a short story in the world of Carnevale!
Faithful scribe and avid Carnevale fan David la Porta (check your Carnevale books) found a little spare time last week, and inspired by the new Sun & Moon miniatures (on pre-order now!) wrote up a short story for us to enjoy!
Flavio’s Budding Masquerata
The masquerata was in full swing and nobles from all across the city had flooded into Flavio’s house. He had prepared all week, bought the most delicious food and the best wine money could buy, all to show off in front of the other nobles who had attended. He was satisfied that his guests were having a good time, but Flavio knew he needed more if his party would be remembered; he needed two more guests in particular to attend. He had spread the word out about his masquerata for an entire week, had spoken to everyone he knew and had bribed several heralds to promote around the Dorsuduro district; he needed them to arrive soon. He would give his guests a night they wouldn’t forget in a hurry and in doing so, would show that he was capable of hosting alongside the richest of the Venetian nobility.
No-one knew who the two Gifted known as Sun and Moon really were. Some speculated that they were once nobles cursed to revel every single night whilst others speculated that they were peasants who dressed as nobles when the Rent appeared, its energy burning their masks permanently onto their faces. Regardless of their origin, it was a known fact that if the pair attended a masquerata then it would become far more lively and raucous. A party with Sun and Moon was the party to be at, and that was why Flavio had gone out of his way to attract them to his.
‘Come on, anytime now,’ Flavio tapped his hand on a banister as he overlooked the dining hall impatiently, ‘If they leave it any later then there’ll be no point.’
Adjusting his mask slightly, Flavio decided to mingle with the guests to gauge how they were finding his party. Taking a glass of wine from a servant he swilled the dark red liquid around before taking a large mouthful. Passing through the crowd as stealthily as he could, Flavio struggled to listen as musicians blared in the background and the crowd noise steadily grew as more wine was drunk. He was however, able to piece together a conversation between two noble women.
‘Flavio has put a lot of effort into the food and wine at least Viola.’ one said.
‘But his entertainment is sorely lacking Ludovica, it gives the food a rather bland taste if you ask me. And as for the wine – don’t get me started!’ Viola retorted, throwing a piece of fruit away.
‘True, it’s clear he’s trying too hard. We should have gone to Marco’s party; he was going to have a firework display and everything! I hear there was even going to be a room behind closed doors for more…exotic revels,’ Ludovica smiled evenly, ‘Shall we finish up and go?’
‘My darling, you don’t have to ask me twice.’ Viola confirmed.
This was turning out to be a disaster. If two guests thought that way, how many more would as well. His night was ruined, his reputation would be tarnished. He would be the laughing stock of the other patricians, whenever he would attend a future masquerata everyone would know that he was of a lesser quality, such was the way Venetian politics had become after the Rent.
A loud gasp followed by a round of applause threw Flavio out of his despair. Looking around startled, Flavio saw that the centre of the hall had emptied, filled only by two figures. The crowd had formed a circle around them and immediately a feeling of joy filled the room, breathing new life into the very masquerata itself. Finding his way to the edge of the circle, Flavio was astonished to see that Sun and Moon had appeared from nowhere. Moon was floating above the ground, her bright blue cape flittered as if wind was catching it and her bright silver hair looked as if it were floating in water. Her icy blue eyes contrasted her otherwise dark complexion, and her personality appeared joyous as she immediately set about entertaining the guests around her. She wrapped her cloak around a noble and the pair of them disappeared, only to reappear at the other end of the hall. Half the guests rushed over to her and Moon smiled broadly, bowing and generously soaking in shouts of praise.
The other half of the crowd persisted at Sun, trying to convince him into demonstrating and performing for them. Sun was dressed in bright yellow with a golden mask decorated like the sun itself. He wore a blue cape like Moon, but it was far shorter. Sighing as he gave into the crowd, Sun lifted his hands into the air and sparks flew off his body giving the impression of small fireworks exploding behind him. Jumping in the air and spinning, Sun released a brilliant light, illuminating the entire hall in pure white light, dazzling the guests and blinding a few nearest him completely. Landing softly, Sun soaked up the applause but it was clear he wouldn’t pander to the crowd as much as Moon had.
Seeing his opportunity, Flavio called for four of his servants to hurry into the hall, and line up against a wall. Taking in a deep breath he ordered the guests to turn to the wall and watch as Sun would give them another display in his loudest voice. The guests did as they were told and formed a large semi circle around the servants as Sun moved into the space between. Moon hovered above, amused that Sun was being ordered around like an animal in a circus. Sighing again, Sun crossed his arms and two daggers of pure energy appeared in his hands. Without hesitation he threw them as quickly as he could towards the servants, missing them by a hair’s breadth. The crowd roared with approval as Sun continuously projected his light sparks and threw them towards the terrified servants, cutting a silhouette around them. The servants dared not move, and stood rooted to the ground, trembling as their clothes were lightly seared as the brilliant sparks of light impacted close to them.
The masquerata had turned from a disaster into a dazzling success in an instant. Flavio owed it all to the appearance of the mysterious pair. Sun and Moon had singlehandedly made him more prominent in the eyes of the other nobility. Flavio was only one of a few people who could say that his party was attended by Sun and Moon. Already, he could see that the two women whom he had spied earlier had completely forgotten about their earlier reservations and had become captivated in the outrageous spectacle performed by Sun and Moon. Flavio thought that he should thank the two people that had saved his masquerata and – if possible – secure their services for another evening. Stepping into the space where Sun was performing, Flavio clapped his hands and opened his arms wide in appreciation, accepting pleas of thanks from his guests. Sun continued to perform, his back to Flavio. He did not care, why would he? He had everything he wanted.
‘Thank you my friends, tonight truly has been exquisite. Fine food and wine topped off by these lovely two guests,’ Flavio beckoned to Sun and Moon, ‘a perfect masquerata if you ask me. But it is far from over! Oh yes, these two will continue to perform for many hours yet, so please, eat and drink. Enjoy yourselves. When you leave here tonight I want you all to express how great this masquerata was to your friends, tell them Sun and Moon were here and they will return for my next masquerata in three days time!’ Flavio beamed.
The crowd all cheered as one and Flavio turned to shake hands and share a few laughs with the guests, not noticing that Sun had stopped performing and had turned around to face him. Flavio turned to thank Sun for his efforts but instead began to scream in agony as Sun threw light sparks at his face, scarring him permanently. The crowd backed away from him. Anyone who bore Sun’s light sparks were shunned at masqueratas and both Flavio and the attending crowd knew it. Collapsing to the floor and holding a shaking hand to his burnt face, Flavio saw Moon descend to hover next to Sun; her jovial nature turned into melancholy and instead of a smile she wore a frown. With a twirl of her cape the pair disappeared as quickly as they had arrived, onto the next party.