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Thread: Il capo di tutti i capi

  1. #1
    死徒 Dead Apostle Bugs's Avatar
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    Il capo di tutti i capi

    Il Guapo
    The old man stood at the top of the jet’s stairwell, thankful to be allowed to smoke again.

    The day was gray, the weather the kind of consistent drizzle that was such a bitch on his arthritis. Digging out the crushed pack tucked away in his shirt pocket, the shiny emblem of the golden galleon emblazoned on the front lifted his mood, if only a little bit. The day NS dropped off the face of the Earth, and the ship was replaced by that depressingly tiny red lion might have been one of the worst of his life. The lion was allegedly put on packs as a source of pride, but everyone the old man knew missed the golden ship. The gaudiness itself was the source of pride, it proved that Italy once had the money to burn on such frivolities. As hard as it may be to imagine these days, almost half a century since the good times ended.

    Not so long ago you could smoke anywhere you wanted, even in restaurants. They don’t have smoking sections anymore. And in America? Forget about it. The fallen king of the tobacco industry acquiescing to the lunatic fringe. If being exposed to a mere chance of getting cancer is your biggest problem, then find some more. Now everything is about hemp, or some such chemicalized bastard. Hemp has far more important uses than getting teenagers stoned. His satchel is made of hemp.

    It’s a very nice satchel.

    Having wasted a suitable amount of time on the internal blathering of an old man, Passenger 14 of Flight 81-A disembarks onto the tarmac of the sleepily crowded airport of his destination.
    Snowfield International Airport.

    What a shithole.

    No, a shithole is too mundane a word. Landing in this city was like landing in a circle of Hell. One of the more boring ones, perhaps. Greed, maybe.

    Still.

    The old man is sure that, for the largest city in a given state, Snowfield is probably one of the better examples of its kind. It doesn’t take very long to realize just how clean and sterile the city is, without coming across as some sort of ghost town. No, one could do far worse for one’s introduction to city life; the sprawling, impoverished monstrosity further to the southwest across the state line leaps to mind. The old man, of course, doesn’t care. It’s too fundamentally different to what he knows.

    Campania. Napoli.

    The gently rolling hills of Vesuvius and the Campanian Volcanic Arc, dotted with harshly destitute communities amid the fertile volcanic soil. Nothing can compare to that wild, chthonic beauty--

    Anyway.

    There’s only so much reflection one can take part in while still existing in the present world. Coming back to reality when he most needs to, as men who have seen multiple decades are wont to do, the old man sheds the fog clouding his mind’s eye to pose a question of vast importance to the emptying baggage claim he has found himself at.

    “Where the fuck is that little chickenshit cocksucker.”

    Aside from a few sideways glances from men and women who only know too well the same kind of geriatric bitterness mumbled from the drooping mouths of their own grandparents, the old man’s question goes unanswered. That’s fine. As if any self-respecting Italian man his age should care about something so inane. It was the gift of old age, after all, being able to disregard social convention like this.

    But a degrading superego doesn’t make said chickenshit cocksucker show up any faster, does it.

    Maybe they’d forgotten he was coming. Or more likely, they’d remembered all too well. If you want to send a message in the world of organized crime or the world of magi, wasting someone’s time is an efficient method.

    Still.

    What happens when a mafia boss dies?

    The closest historical comparison that might be in the forefront of an average magus’ mind would be the death of Alexander. A
    capo dei capi
    king of kings
    who surrounded himself with many trusted generals and sycophants, tied together by the conqueror’s charisma and innate kingship--but most of all, by Alexander’s talent at delivering results. With Alexander’s death at Babylon, this mutual connection between many different groups and individuals was severed.

    Men of singular passion such as Alexander, who died before the birth of his one and only son, are not so forward thinking as to consider the line of succession as an integral aspect of party cohesion. Nor are such men prone to thinking the worst of trusted advisers and generals. The Wars of the Diadochi, the immediate and bloody interpersonal conflicts between Alexander’s surviving generals, were a mere
    formality
    eventuality
    .

    The very same scavenging and cannibalization occurs when a Don passes. In truth, a mafia boss and an affluent magus are practically indistinguishable in the effects they have on their surroundings after death.

    But that’s got nothing to do with the old man. Campania is different.

    Regardless, the death of Galvarosso Scladio is not something that can be called an isolated incident. The dreams of the various people built upon the back of Galvarosso are already endangered, mediocre dreams though they may be. Perhaps they don’t realize that the proverbial gravy train will soon run its course, perhaps they simply don’t care. It would not be unlike a magus to look at the death of even their benefactor as a potential opportunity. Surely the head of a family that looked after dozens of fringe magi would have his own secrets and resources unknown to his wards. The truth of the matter is, of course, that the state of the late Scladio family is a complete unknown.

    Which is why the old man has come to this American shithole in the first place, with its cheap cigarettes, uncannily vibrant skyscrapers, and the police and even civilians that drive around in what amount to noisy, miniature tanks.

    Which is why he is unable to comprehend why he is being made to wait.

    Usually when someone in his profession arrives at an appointed area and there’s no one there, it means that that same someone was very quickly going to be separated from his life.

    If an attack was on its way, it’s likely that it would have arrived by now. Despite the baggage claim being located outdoors, and having nearly emptied by this point, vantage points from which to launch even a discrete magical offensive were few and far between. And why would anyone try? As far as the old man was concerned, he was doing the Scladios a favor by looking into their affairs.

    So it came as a bit of a shock when an unseen blunt force knocked his knees out from under him.

    Dim the lights, it’s time to go home.

    --------------

    There once was a great tree that grew in Benevento, Campania, Italy.

    This tree was a walnut tree, and held very much as a sacred site to the native witches: the streghe. So sacred, that even though it was cut down by Saint Barbato in 660, the site itself has become steeped in the memories of the once mighty tree.

    Benevento itself has a long and storied history, with conflicting stories that attribute its foundation to either Diomedes after the end of the Trojan War--the Romans having had such pride in this theory that they used to put the tusks of the Calydonian Boar on display as proof of their lineage--or to Auson; a son of Odysseus and Circe. The surrounding Phlegraean Fields are said to be the site of the Gigantomachy’s finale, Zeus driving the giants deep into the earth. Absorbed into the Roman Empire after the defeat of Pyrrhus of Epirus, it was given its new name of
    fair wind
    Beneventum
    , having previously been known as
    evil wind
    Maleventum
    . The genesis of the streghe--and the Magic Crest of Southern Italy as a whole--is alleged to have begun with Herodias in the early days of the Empire, but the truth is unknown. The origin of the walnut tree of Benevento, following this pattern, is a complete and utter mystery.

    The streghe, despite over two thousand years of tumultuous Italian history, thrived to become one of the oldest continuous lineages of magi in Southern Europe. Even the rise of the Vatican and Catholicism didn’t impede the growth of the Campanian witches, living in such a consistently poor and secluded, rural area.

    Until the 1600s or so.

    When the Camorra was birthed into existence.

    The legendary foundation asserts that the Camorra and the two other major criminal institutions of Italy--the Sicilian Mafia and the ‘Ndrangheta--were founded by three Spanish knights of an even more clandestine crime organization out of Middle Ages Spain: the Garduņa. Each knight was protected by a specific saint, and after being shipwrecked off of Sicily, founded the big three syndicates. This, however, is almost certainly complete bullshit. The legend is only really popular in the ‘Ndrangheta’s home turf of Calabria, noted for its heavy Spanish influence.

    The factual birth of the Camorra is far more mundane, arising as a group of local gamblers selfishly protecting the interests of the rural poor during an age of revolutions and restorations. Before Italian unification, there was the King of Naples, uncaring for the plight of the average Neapolitan, until the declaration of the Parthenopean Republic. The liberals, realizing the Camorra held sway over the poor masses, paid them for their assistance in overthrowing the king. After unification, the Camorra was seen as a parasite on Campanian politics that was too deeply entrenched to be removed. But before then, there was credible worry that the king would torture the camorristi for information should they ever be caught.

    So the Camorra turned to the streghe, and the curse of omertā was fashioned on the mobsters.

    In Campanian society, the streghe and the Camorra have often been viewed as two sides of the same coin in terms of community phenomena: people would variously apply to either side for assistance they believed could not be obtained from ordinary political institutions. Women would often seek the streghe for assistance in all things feminine and spiritual, while the Camorra was interpreted as its masculine, temporal counterpart. Naturally, these two entities struggled to coexist, fearing one another’s perceived unnatural power. The camorristi supplicating to the streghe for assistance was a display of great respect, returned in kind when the witches did the gangsters their favor.

    And as such things often happen, this meeting spurred marriage and copulation among the two groups.

    It is from such a mating pair that the old man is descended. While the streghe as a “race” are composed almost entirely of women, male magi are not out of the question. It is this lack of breeding resources that led the streghe to accept the camorristi as mates in the first place.

    Naturally, the old man was born with the potential of a magus.

    But a young man born on the fringe of magus and non-magus society alike, when given power, is likely to misbehave. And likely won’t stop misbehaving once his hair turns gray.

    --------------

    “Haah, sorry about that. I would have knocked you out more subtly given the state of your body, but...it’s exactly the state of your body that forced me to bop you on the head, huh?”

    A voice called to the old man through the miasma that clung to his mind. The dull pain that throbbed at the base of his skull was manageable; he’d taken enough wine bottles and sucker punches back there as a young man that he was confident he could simply ignore it. If he had received a concussion, he probably wouldn’t have woken up in the first place.

    His self-diagnosis complete, he turned his groggy mind to the voice that had just spoken.

    Male. Younger than himself. That much was immediately obvious. The young man’s tone suggested that he was enjoying himself.

    La Paranza.

    Come on, you son of a bitch. Focus. The old man forcibly brings himself back to the forefront through a combination of ornery tenacity and magecraft, laying eyes on his aggressor for the first time.

    ...Who the hell is this.

    The two of them were seated in a luxury vehicle, facing each other. From the position of the sun shining in through the window, the old man determined it hadn’t been very long since he’d been knocked out. Mere minutes, if that. What else became immediately apparent was that the car was parked maybe ten meters away from where he’d been initially standing by the baggage claim. Meaning the young man seated in the leather cushion in front of him wasn’t planning on taking him anywhere special. It was a display of force, meant to instantly convey the young man’s power. Plain and simple. Whether or not it was also an exercise in arrogance, the old man couldn’t determine yet. Being hit in the back of the fucking head does that to one’s senses of observation.

    “You seem to be a very talented man in your field, Mr. Doriforo. The protective curses you’ve laced around your body didn’t really leave me much choice. Once again, my most sincere apologies”

    The young man was dressed sharply, and of a healthy color. One leg crossed over the other, the man casually reclined in his seat. He looked to be in the middle of reading the contents of a thin manila folder that was opened in his lap, although it looked more like he was peeking over the edge of the folder in a mockery of secrecy, very much like a child. Under the impression he was being stared at, the young man flipped the folder closed, somehow still managing to look sheepish about it.

    “We’d heard you were coming, but when the security cameras and familiars we have out in the area short-circuited after catching sight of you, I figured rolling out the welcome wagon wasn’t uncalled for.”

    The man continued pleasantly. He was clearly speaking English, but the words were transmuted by way of some telepathic magecraft into Italian, in order for the old man to digest his words. He’d stubbornly resisted learning any other language as a young man himself.

    Oops.

    The young man flipped his folder open again, reading aloud in a sarcastic sing-song.

    “Nicolo Gran Doriforo. Known camorrista right out of Naples. Ah, but you’d probably prefer I call it Napoli, right?”

    The old man--Nico--remained silent. Leave it to some American kid to find an excuse to turn an event like this into something right out of one of their gangster movies. Nico grumbled to himself internally, wondering just why he ever loved those movies in the first place. Actually, what Nico wanted to do more than anything right now was punch the young man square in the jaw, but that probably wasn’t happening anytime soon.

    There was something off about the air inside the car. Though an outsider in terms of magical education, a life of danger has honed Nico’s senses even into his old age. This feeling is probably one of those Eastern Bounded Field things, mapped along the interior of the vehicle. He didn’t feel like he was being cursed, so its function was probably to keep noise in. Or to limit collateral to the surrounding areas if things get dicey inside the car. Probably both. It’s what he would do if he was capable of such things.

    “Still, for a gangster to so blatantly show up on our doorstep like it’s 1940s New York, it’s almost like you took the wrong plane. Haven’t you heard of RICO, Mr. Doriforo? Donnie Brasco?”

    The young man just kept talking, spewing out keywords associated with the history of American organized crime, completely filling the void in conversation left by Nico.

    “To be blunt, the concept of an organized crime family has been extinct in Snowfield for a while now. I’d hate to have to give my subordinates a reason to think I’m some kind of liar.”

    Extinct. That word caught Nico’s attention. Despite his playful tone, Nico could tell the young man wasn’t a careless speaker. The deliberate choice to employ that word either meant that the young man was speaking truthfully, and the Scladio family had been exterminated in some interim unknown to Nico, or it was an obvious ruse. Nico wondered why the young man was wasting so much of his time, but chalked it up to the stereotype that Americans love to talk.

    “Therefore, I’d like to use you as a kind of archaeologist.”

    What.

    The man folded his hands in his lap, smiling to himself.

    “Or perhaps a forensics specialist would be more accurate? I don’t know exactly what kind of relationship you have with the Scladios, and I don’t really care. That family is nothing but a corpse these days, but even a corpse still has its uses.”

    “To keep gravediggers employed.”

    Nico’s voice cracked, the translator-magecraft catching even the husky twinge of a smoker’s groan.The young man froze mid-sentence, surprised at Nico’s sudden interjection. A joke, at that. The smile had fallen from his face, but was quickly replaced and grew into a laugh.

    “Yes, I suppose that’s true! A dead body does nothing but stink up the place until it’s transformed into something more useful. But that’s a philosophy far more similar to that of a necromancer, isn’t it? But it’s not the
    individuals
    body parts
    of the Scladio
    system
    corpse
    that interest me anymore. All the really troublesome ones are dead and gone, as I’m sure you’re aware.”

    “No, what interests me is...ah, no, I finally thought of a much better title!” The young man pounded a fist into his open palm, suddenly struck with some strange inspiration.

    “Graverobber. That’s what you’ll become for me.”

    Or die. Just die.

    The sentiment was hidden under the young man’s vague way of speaking, but it was something instantly understood by someone like Nico. You could call it a “channel” he had access to, the awareness of a man at the intersection of three cultural understandings. If he gave the wrong answer, he’d probably be instantly eliminated. Assuming, of course, that he wasn’t mistaken about the young man’s aura.

    Actually, in terms of pure combat power potential, Nico greatly outweighed the young man. However, the contrivances of the bounded field, Nico’s throbbing headache, and the puppet operating a sniper rifle roughly a mile away, compounded to swing things more in the young man’s favor.

    “Fine.”

    Nico had no intention of continuing this conversation, if possible. Not like there was much more for him to say, the curse of omertā had been actively limiting his power to speak since the conversation began. So he’d say whatever he had to in order to be rid of this flashy car and the flashy young man inside. Plus, he really had to use the restroom.

    “Wise decision.” Seemingly satisfied, the young man finally tucked the manila folder under his arm, and popped his door open, the bounded field vanishing in the same instant. In the fluidity of motion of someone used to slipping away from danger, the young man was out of the car and on the street before Nico’s faculties could completely return to him. Poking his head back inside, he dropped perhaps the biggest bombshell of all.

    “By the way, you can have the car, if you want. America isn’t like Italy, you basically can’t go anywhere without your own vehicle.”

    With that final banal truism left hanging in the air, the young man was gone. Leaving only the old man left behind.

    Ruminating on the preceding events, still seated within the car, Nico came to the conclusion that the first step in his mission was still--technically--a success.

    He’d met with a real genuine chickenshit cocksucker.

    --------------
    Last edited by Bugs; September 20th, 2019 at 06:20 PM.

  2. #2
    鬼 Ogre-like You's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bugs View Post
    Now everything is about hemp, or some such chemicalized bastard. Hemp has far more important uses than getting teenagers stoned. His satchel is made of hemp.

    It’s a very nice satchel.
    great line.
    Though abandoned, forgotten, and scorned as out-of-date dolls, they continue to carry out their mission, unchanged from the time they were designed.
    Machines do not lose their worth when a newer model appears.
    Their worth (life) ends when humans can no longer bear that purity.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ticeexcenny
    In my opinion you are not right. I am assured. Let's discuss it. Write to me in PM, we will talk.

  3. #3
    死徒 Dead Apostle Bugs's Avatar
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    Thanks. I'm still a little nervous to post this since it's my first attempt at anything remotely long-form in a long time, but I'll do my best.

  4. #4
    Hey! Are you ready to go? RoydGolden's Avatar
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    This looks really interesting! No idea where you're going with this plot-wise but the narration just oozes with personality.

  5. #5
    nicht mitmachen Dullahan's Avatar
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    Interesting. Adroit. Will monitor.
    ちょう
    もく


  6. #6
    Knight of Joestar SirGauoftheSquareTable's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dullahan;301/3799
    Interesting. Adroit. Will monitor.
    A compliment from Dullahan? High praise.

    In any case, good job Bugs, and I'm excited to see where else you'll take the whole Mafia magecraft thing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Deathhappens View Post
    Really, all 3 of the romances in F/SN are 'for want of a nail' kind of situations.
    Quote Originally Posted by forumghost View Post
    You mean because Shirou winds up falling for the first of the three that he Nailed?
    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    I speak for the majority of important people* *a category comprised entirely of myself

  7. #7
    Inactive Imperial's Avatar
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    The Fanfic section goes quiet for ages, and then we get great stuff like this and Fate/Mythologie.

    You took what could have been a painfully boring info dump and turned into a great hook of a first chapter. I'm eager to see more of this and any other stories you churn out, Bugs.
    Spoiler:
    Originally Posted by You
    when all the evils have given up their waifus, all the greats have left for med school, and there are no more at least 3 day battles to be fought what is left is

    not Tsukihime 2
    not DDD3
    not even Girl's Work

    but f/go

    and now f/go english

    that is what is waiting for you at the end of schadenfreude


  8. #8
    Dead Apostle Eater Historia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Imperial View Post
    The Fanfic section goes quiet for ages, and then we get great stuff like this and Fate/Mythologie.

    You took what could have been a painfully boring info dump and turned into a great hook of a first chapter. I'm eager to see more of this and any other stories you churn out, Bugs.
    Likewise.

  9. #9
    死徒 Dead Apostle Bugs's Avatar
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    Interlude

    America’s Cursed Day.

    A certain day in which thirty five lobbyists, media personalities and tycoons, political candidates, and financial powerhouses simultaneously died within hours of each other. This event, which had followed the successive gas explosions in the Nevada city of Snowfield, was the newest focal point of interest for those that considered themselves the pursuers of “truth.”

    Modern bodhisattvas that struggle to dispel the falsities of reality, ceaselessly questioning the information presented before them from third, second, and even first-hand sources. Data processed by their own eyes is no more immune to inquiry and speculation. Only by shutting out all distractions could these sages in the making possibly content themselves with “reality.”

    Of course, to others, these same people are regarded as fetid, possibly evil liars and scoundrels. Conspiracy theorists with too much free time on their hands, too many drugs in their systems, too little faith in anything--possibly all three. Never satisfied with “the way things are,” constantly groping for more power, more personal justification for their beliefs.

    While the veracity of what these
    bodhisattvas
    truth-seekers
    believed about the incident is moot, perhaps they would be content with the knowledge that “America’s Cursed Day” as an event belongs solely to them.

    No one else noticed.

    No one else cared.

    Political candidates, of course, are figures far too public to have had their deaths go unnoticed. Especially with the upcoming election year of 2008, already shaping up to be a landmark in history with the inclusion of a certain senator from Illinois.

    Hundreds of threads, thousands of posts on forum spaces--both public and anonymous--delved into the potential culprit behind these high-profile deaths. Even the burgeoning phenomenon of social media began seeing these heretical questions posed.

    The usual suspects were brought up, of course. The Jews, the Chinese, the Russians, multiple shadowy cabals of intelligentsia that can never truly be knowable, aliens, Middle Eastern terrorists, and the American government itself.

    Several terror groups did actually claim responsibility for a few of the deaths. But it was quickly determined the leaders of these groups had merely been attempting to piggyback off the media attention of certain victims of the thirty five men, with no connection or consideration to the others. Besides, there was difficulty in keeping a consistent motive.

    The owner of a mildly popular blog on esotericism also claimed responsibility, declaring the deaths were the product of a curse she had cast on the “American elite” for their role in industrialization and globalization. A visit from the FBI promptly changed the woman’s story.

    A few stray posts posited a connection between the deaths and the strange rash of explosions surrounding Snowfield, but when a certain anonymous poster replied sarcastically that “maybe it was a grand Satanic ritual perpetrated by the Feds and something fucked up lol,” the connection was summarily dropped out of embarrassment.

    How close they were to the truth.

    But one cannot blame them for a simple lack of information to work with. Effort, when lacking a target, is fundamentally useless. Therefore, events that might have been recorded differently had effort been directed towards elucidating their truth, went undiscovered and sank into the mire beneath even urban legend.

    Which would have suited the members of the Scladio family just fine, had it been any other case. While the keyboard Taoists continued to wage war against the false reality surrounding the deaths of the media celebrities, the Scladio ruling body faced a successive one-two punch.

    The death of
    the brain
    Galvarosso
    , unrecorded among the thirty five other men.

    And the loss of a priceless
    organ
    treasure.


    The destruction of a certain meat processing plant in Snowfield’s industrial district had been the death toll for the family. The only survivor of the incident was a madman who would shortly lose his own life a few days later in an unrelated battle. His death had been warranted, and they were probably better off without him, especially without Galvarosso to soothe the savage beast known as Bazdilot Cordelion. For once, the family could agree on something collectively.

    This revelation was followed up with another, however.

    With the destruction of Bazdilot’s primary workshop, the personal success of the average Scladio family member was in deep, deep danger. Galvarosso’s promised peaceful existence away from the Association relied heavily on the use and continued manufacture of his “priceless treasure.”

    Mana crystals.

    Created through a technique stolen from the late magus Atram Galliasta, after greatly upgrading the effectiveness of the conversion process the Scladios had effectively eliminated the need for leyline suitability. All that was necessary was to continue on as they always had, as an organized crime family, a self-sustaining cycle when its mere existence can generate new enemies daily as needed and justifies any methods taken towards ultimate success.

    All one had to do was have no problem with the ritual sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of fellow humans, and freedom was ensured. As magi, you should already be ready to do the very same with your own hands if it comes to it, right?

    This was the essence of Galvarosso’s promise.

    But it had been a flawed promise from the beginning. As a non-magus, Galvarosso could never fully comprehend the importance of the relationship between a magus and the land upon which he works.

    But a town created from nothing, built for the specific purpose of housing heretics, what could possibly be more of a godsend than that?

    Perhaps he invested in the mana crystal plan as a potential fallback in the case of Bazdilot losing the Fake Holy Grail War. Or perhaps he was simply obsessed with giving magi more and more power, a miracle that he could never participate in but one that he could potentially help others realize. No one was close enough to him to have ever known the truth, with the exception of Bazdilot. And even he, mad dog of the Scladios, had eventually succumbed.

    However.

    Voyeurs witnessing this unfolding drama--what little one may glean without being killed--might be drawn by the siren call of the lost treasure of the Scladios. For a treasure to be “lost” is to forcibly ascribe it Mystery, whether or not it’s truly deserving of such a status is not for those who seek it to decide. The act of treasure hunting itself, then, could be called a microcosm of the destruction of Mystery as a concept. Surely there has to be a reason it’s such a popular, romantic idea? The whip-slinging rugged adventurers of modern cinema are only the most obvious example of this base desire.

    Because of the intrinsic value of the treasure? Because stealing from the dead doesn’t count? A simple chemical release of endorphins?

    Because it’s there?

    By way of such twisted reasoning, the treasure hunter becomes righteous within his own mind. One whose determination of value is absolute, and those that fail to meet these standards are themselves branded heretics. Therefore, to remove “treasure” from those who cannot properly appreciate it, as it deserves to be appreciated, is in a word:

    Justice.

    Self-Critique

    This was originally going to be the first section of the second chapter, but seeing it there at the top of the chapter gave me a bit of a mental block, so I decided to make it a very short interlude instead. Midterms of course don't help. The info dump is probably very stilted compared to the last one, but thank you for reading anyway.

  10. #10
    celestial prayer 34's Avatar
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    ooooh this is really great

    please continue, and good luck with your midterms

  11. #11
    Don't @ me if your fanfic doesn't even have Shirou/Illya shipping k thnx ItsaRandomUsername's Avatar
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    Ever since the concept of mafia-tied magi was properly focused on in F/sf, I thought it a compelling idea with room for growth. Nice to see the approach being taken, and the deft writing on top of that is a further welcome delight. Nico might begrudgingly wonder what he ever saw in gangster media, but we, the audience, sure know the appeal.
    McJon01: We all know that the real reason Archer would lose to Rider is because the events of his own Holy Grail War left him with a particular weakness toward "older sister" types.
    My Fanfics. Read 'em. Or not.



  12. #12
    死徒 Dead Apostle Bugs's Avatar
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    IL LUPO PERDE IL PELO MA NON IL VIZIO


    Crystal Hill.

    The enormous hotel and casino situated at the top of the gentle hill which gives the casino its name, in the center of the bustling city itself. The only one of its kind to be found in Snowfield, the silhouette of the casino’s glass spire is instantly recognizable to anyone who has ever visited or lived in the strange city in the desert. Printed on everything from postcards to vanity license plates, Crystal Hill is surely part of the public’s common consciousness.

    It produces a bustling business for Snowfield, despite how far it may be from the true Mecca of gambling: Las Vegas. Similarly, as with Reno, the gambling scene in Snowfield is completely secondhand. Although Snowfield is larger than any of the small towns that make up the difference in Nevada--which, thanks to the loose gambling laws, often provide a slot machine or two within grocery stores and the like to gather some easily made extra revenue--Crystal Hill is its only casino. Rather, it’s the only gambling structure in the entire town.

    The Strip is well and truly the singular attraction of Las Vegas--and for some, the entire state--one that outshines any competition, its demonic glow reaches across deserts and oceans to capture the passing dreams of any who would dare to take the risk. Las Vegas, therefore, needn’t worry about ever running into a situation in which The Strip could become “useless” or “not worth it.”

    But what of Crystal Hill?

    True, with only one casino to its name, Snowfield has only one target for its tourism department. And yet a constant stream of liquid cash is somehow continuously pumped into Crystal Hill, placing it above any Las Vegas casino in terms of quality purely by how much funding is thrown at it. Snowfield might not have the Blue Man Group on a constant contract, or a water show like the Bellagio--which no matter how many times it goes off a day, will always have a group of slightly drunken tourists crowding the rails to “oooh” and “ahhh” at the appropriate intervals--Snowfield has the opportunity to provide a truly professional experience.

    An opportunity to provide a gambling arena that preys on the sterile vanity of the young millionaires it attracts, feeding them the sweet lie that yes; Crystal Hill is oh so much more mature than the Sodom that is Las Vegas. The elderly of Nevada, as well, find comfort in the comparable quiet that Crystal Hill provides. Not many visitors from the other side of the country, or even foreigners, come to visit Crystal Hill, which is just fine by them. It allows them to find “lucky” seats, cultivate friendly relationships with their favorite card dealers, all in comforting peace.

    The explosion that almost took the top of the giant building off in a brutal decapitation a few months ago, has thankfully been largely forgotten(redacted).

    The speed of the building’s reconstruction was so great many believed what was supposedly an explosion was in reality a possible mishap concerning one of the elevators. An elevator carriage coming free from its moorings and slamming into the basement floor is liable to create a stir on par with an explosion, after all.

    The truth is more likely that it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Crystal Hill as an institution is impossible to remove. Even if it were torn down, the place it occupied would continue to act as Snowfield’s anchor point in perpetuity. It is the rod in which the roulette wheel of the city continues to turn, drawing all attention towards it even as it drives its victims away in debt. A magnetic pole that declares by its very existence that nothing else is allowed to take away from its brilliance, from the influence it exerts.

    Even the weather seems to clear around the glass spire, understanding its place as something unable to tarnish Crystal Hill.

    A perfect veneer.

    Surely, the first step to locating Galvarosso’s legacy would be found inside.

    The presidential suite, in particular, held special interest for Nico. A known organized crime presence in the city, and the explanation for Crystal Hill’s explosion the media attempted to spin was a gas leak? Shameful, to think such garbage. Of course the Scladios would be at the epicenter of such an event; if not directly than it was surely the site of some battle on their property.

    A door attendant welcomed him to the casino as the large glass doors slid open.

    Nico felt comforted by the velveted hallways and smoke-filled rooms. Although his experience with professional gambling institutions began and ended with the Casino de la Vallee in Saint-Vincent, he still feels as though he knows his way around the floors by intuition alone. It doesn’t hurt that Crystal Hill makes the joint in Saint-Vincent look like a crackhouse, but those losers didn’t even speak Italian, so fuck ‘em.

    Now, illegal gambling.

    That was another situation entirely.

    But a case he had to give begrudgingly to the Americans. They just simply have more people to sucker. But for now, that’s neither here nor there.

    He was just another old man come to spend his twilight years in the deafening cacophony of the metallic clanking of one-armed bandits and the screaming insincerity of electronic slot machines.

    The car had had to go, of course. As nice as it was, and as much as Nico was taught to prize nice cars while he was growing up, commenting on the foolishness of keeping a gift from an enemy is by its very intention ridiculous. Well, maybe if it hadn’t been from a magus. Thankfully, the car’s dome light had been circular, rather than rectangular. At least the destruction of informational evidence had been rather simple, all he’d done was buy a jalapeno pepper from the nearest local grocery, and the erasure was complete.

    The part that hurt the most was sinking the thing in the swamp.

    It reminded him of a story he’d heard. A mafioso had mistakenly stolen military transport vehicles from an American outpost in Israel. Panicking, the mafioso had apparently tried to sink the entire stock in the Dead Sea. Imagining that poor sucker going crazy as his score failed to sink in the salty water made him feel a little bit better about watching the young man’s ride disappear under Snowfield’s swampy marsh. Actually, didn’t America have a body of water very much like the Dead Sea? Maybe he’d see if the story was really true. Eventually.

    What a waste, what a waste.

    There had been no way to tell if the car was hot or not, but reflexes took over where rationality might have prevailed otherwise. Perhaps that was Nico’s failing, assuming these people had the thought processes of anything other than magi. It never hurt to be too careful. It always hurt to underestimate an enemy.

    He could feel the tug on his mind of the slot machines and the small card tables as he made his way towards the elevator. Yes, that’s right. No matter how much it looked like a casino, the white hairs standing up on the back of Nico’s neck made it abundantly clear that he was trespassing in a magus’s workshop. Or perhaps it’d be more accurate to call the entire building a...what had his mother called it? A temple? Nico had very little experience with these things. It was, frankly, his first time ever being in one. Men like him, mere spellslingers, had no reason to settle down and create their own workshops. There was no point. He supposed he was paying the price for his ignorance, but he kept his hands firmly in his pockets, forcing himself to power through the heavy blanket threatening to suffocate his mind.

    If anyone had seen the state his hands were in right now, they might have attempted to whisk him away to a hospital, clearly the victim of an acute arthritis attack. Ironically, Nico was sure another magus would completely misinterpret what he was doing, while any average gambler would instantly realize Nico’s aim.

    The fingers of one hand were crossed tightly enough to look painful. The other seemed locked in a position any metalhead would instantly recognize: the Devil Horns. Unrelated to the esoteric hand signals of the Japanese Mikkyo and Chinese Kuji-in--which Nico certainly didn’t even know existed in the first place--what Nico was doing was uniquely Italian, and one of the oldest and most powerful protection rituals afforded to his lineage.

    At any rate, there wasn’t anything happening to suggest that it wasn’t working properly.

    Nico flicked his gaze up at the decorative outcrop above the elevator doors, towards the thing he already knew was crouching there in the alcove’s shadow.

    Glass orbs perched in the corners of the main room and in incremental rows and columns spanning the interior area of the vast ceiling.

    Security cameras.

    Unlike the living visual conduits of a familiar, a security camera is cold and unfeeling. For the average magus--who is a passive Luddite at best--something like a security camera yields nothing to the plying and prying taught by the schools of magecraft. Nothing but a hunk of metal and delicate circuitry, and the lens itself. Though usually circular, lenses can take any shape. Globular, for instance.

    Ocular.

    The oldest magic in the world is the gift of eyesight, or so Nico’s mother had once told him. To see is in itself a miracle, the foundation for everything humans could and would ever accomplish. Magecraft was no exception.

    To wit, given the nature of the species, from the first gift also came the first curse. It was only natural.

    Il Malocchio. The Evil Eye.

    A curse so old it is ingrained in the genetic data of human memory. One born as a child of the seven sins of mankind’s inception. A natural expression of human nature, subtle in its twisting of reality. It’s this primordial evil that forms the axis on which Nico’s magecraft turns.

    The security cameras, as man-made devices designed in the vein of the human eye, conceptually embody the potential of an Evil Eye generator. In short, calling what Nico is doing as something akin to a spy hacking the cameras to prevent his image from being conveyed on the other side wouldn’t be out of the ballpark. Of course, a real magus most likely has countermeasures in place should anyone like Nico ever attempt to tamper with his or her property. It’s what he would do if he had the ability, after all. Truly, whether or not the Scladios were composed entirely of people like himself, or were the serious kind that wholeheartedly devoted themselves to the pursuit of the Root, simply wasn’t information Nico had access to. A bit late in the game to start worrying about these things, he thought.

    Just make it to the top, you stupid old bastard.

    After the elevator doors slid closed behind him, Nico took the opportunity to help himself to a sharp inhale of breath and a thought as to his next move. The mystic pressure from the main floor of the casino was completely absent inside the elevator, it felt much like a completely different atmosphere, and Nico was grateful for the change. He sank against the useless, practically decorative handrail, feeling weak and infirm and angry at just how much his body was relying on the extra support.

    The elevator opened a few times on its way to the top, but a quick shake of the head and a glare from Nico convinced the potential passengers to wait for the next carriage. They were young, they could afford it. One of the groups on whom the elevator opened contained a particularly inebriated young man attempting to convince his compatriots that all the repairs Crystal Hill had made were decorative at best, and there was no way he was getting on that fucking deathtrap with the winning streak he was on. Nico thought he probably had a point, but fully expected casino security to pay this group a visit soon if they couldn’t quiet down their friend.

    Nico couldn’t count on any member of the Scladios expecting him. Not after that visit from the Fed kid in the car. What was he going to do if the presidential suite was occupied? Actually, the less likely but more stressful outcome would be finding the suite completely empty. He tried to think of reasons to completely discount that event, but it wasn’t coming together. Too many unknowns. What he did know was this:

    Crystal Hill is controlled by the Scladios.
    Crystal Hill is the tallest structure in the city.
    Crystal Hill is a magical temple.
    Crystal Hill was the site of a disaster some time ago.

    All of his instincts as a camorrista were telling him that it would be foolish to leave such a location uncontrolled. If it had been him, he would use the suite as a permanent resource and then only provide information that the suite even exists to entice big spenders to visit the casino. But the mind of a magus is barely human, his own mother was proof of that, and trying to comprehend something so alien to him would be an effort in futility.

    The carriage came to a halt at the top floor. Time was up.

    Nico had come to the logical conclusion on how to proceed just as the doors opened. He strode purposefully towards the large, ornate, French doors at the end of the carpeted hallway.

    Act like you belong there. One of the first rules of grifting.

    The doors are thrown open, and...

    Self-Critique and Announcement

    Well. It's been so long since I've last touched this that this post might as well count as a necro. In case it wasn't glaringly obvious, only the first part of Il Capo I ever posted was "planned" per se, which is why it's been such a slog to make any progress. Now, however, I think I have my life under control enough to start making some more headway.

    That being said, I might just keep the rest of what I write to myself. As a reader myself it's obvious when things clearly aren't thought out, at least in the capacity that the writer doesn't know what the fuck s/he is doing. This just makes for a frustrating read. I'd like to be able to continue this seriously, but whether or not I'll ever be satisfied with what I write after this is another story entirely...

    The concept of the Scladio family is still too enticing for me to give up for long, so I'd like to consider converting Il Capo into a quest on the RP forum--most likely starting over from scratch, as I don't think an old man like Nico is particularly appealing to the crowd there.
    I dunno, but I might write something in the RP Ideas thread as well if there seems to be enough interest. Or I'll just do it anyway and see what comes of it.

  13. #13
    Don't @ me if your fanfic doesn't even have Shirou/Illya shipping k thnx ItsaRandomUsername's Avatar
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    F to that, but the update is appreciated, regardless. And hey, if it does get resurrected as a quest, I'd be highly likely to give it a good checkin' out.
    McJon01: We all know that the real reason Archer would lose to Rider is because the events of his own Holy Grail War left him with a particular weakness toward "older sister" types.
    My Fanfics. Read 'em. Or not.



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