Old Giovanni Idea

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Old Giovanni Idea

Post by Muninn on Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:54 pm

Catania, Italy - 1934

Carmine Giovanni examined himself in the mirror. He worked the soft silk of his tie, eager to get the knot perfect for today. Two big blue eyes looked back at him, a solid and chiseled nose, a determined look and a strong jaw. He was a handsome man, but not as innocent as he might look. Still, he served his family proudly over the years, and he was a respected member of the family. Whether it was because he was of pure Giovanni blood, or that he had earned it through his deeds, he didn't know...and frankly, he didn't care.

He ran a comb through his hair, straighten it as it dried, as his eyes drifted in the mirror to the beautiful naked form that still laid behind him tucked under the soft white sheets of his bed; his cousin Aria Giovanni. He watched as she slept, her cute naked chest rising and falling peacefully. He smiled as his mind flashed back to last night and their love making. They had been trying to have a baby together for the last two months, ever since they found out Carmine might be chosen for the embrace, and he knew she would be exhausted.

A wider smile appeared as he continued to get ready. They had been trying so hard to get her pregnant culminating in last nights’ multiple attempts. Carmine truly hoped they were successful. It was one last act he had wanted to give to the family before he was no longer able. Both he and Aria, being unico sanguee (having one parent who was a Giovanni by blood), would combine to add a doppio sanguee (double blooded) child to the fold; a welcomed rarity that would ensure the Giovanni bloodline continued to thrive. Some had viewed it as repulsive or degenerative, but Carmine and his uncles knew better. They weren't descending into depravity; they were engineering the next generation of Giovanni. They were keeping the blood strong for the family.

Family before all others.

Focusing back on the tie, Carmine finished the knot and gave himself one last look. The Armani suit was one he had bought specifically for today's celebration. April 4th, it was a time-honored tradition for his family and a day of feasting, celebration, and with luck... ascension. Today was the day he would find out if he would take the next step for the family and join the ranks of his aunts and uncles who thrived in the night to advance the family name. He was ready, of that he was sure.

Turning to leave he stopped at the bed and reached down and gave his beautiful cousin a soft kiss on the forehead before pulling the sheet up over her naked body and settling it on top of her. He then grabbed his coat and began slipping it on as he made his way out of the room, down the massive carpeted hall, and downstairs to join the rest of the family and friends that had already begun the day's celebration.

--------

At the home of the Don of Catania, Pasquale Giovanni, the sounds of laughter and celebration filled the air. The giant, ten thousand square foot Victorian inspired mansion sat just off the coast in all its breathtaking grandeur. It looked out over the Mediterranean Sea where the cargo ships and freighters passed on their way to and from the Suez Canal. The home itself had eight bedrooms, ten bathrooms, fire fireplaces, and a massive underground network of caverns where the anzani (elders) now slept waiting for the sun to set so that they may join the festivities.

Family from all around Italy had come to celebrate. Local Giovanni and Rossellini danced and celebrated alongside visiting Milliners and Dunsirn; ghouls and mortals from nearly all the families inside the Giovanni taking part in the day of celebration and remembrance.

Carmine walked out of the house and entered the courtyard and immediate saw family and friends he hadn't seen in years. Children ran and played in the waning sun as the wafting smell of over a dozen masterfully prepared dishes made his stomach growl. As he walked through the courtyard he was greeted and embraced by uncles, aunts, cousins, and relatives of all kinds as they congratulated him on what was to come. He took it all in, enjoying every moment of it; of his family. He cherished these last moments with them. Sure, they would be here tomorrow, but he would be different then. It wasn't every day that a man in the family got to take the next step. He was going to take the time to enjoy it.

The sun soon descended and was swallowed by the night as the courtyard was flooded with artificial lighting. The amusement and revelry by the guests didn't cease one bit. At the prescribed hour a number of the family ghouls made their way to the caverns below the mansion and began prepping the kindred family for their appearance. With the hour they started to emerge and greetings and pleasantries were exchanged again as each ancient member of the family joined the assemblage.

Carmine dutifully endured the hours as they slowly dragged by, the final ceremony of the night seeming to take an eternity to arrive. Finally the hour had come. Most of the mortal family members had left as only a few were allowed to observe what was to come. Don Pasquale Giovanni and three other men, two being Carmine's uncles Nicolino Giovanni and Samuel Dunsirn, retreated into a large study in the house to begin their private discussions.

Don Pasquale Giovanni gazed up at the lavish ceiling of his favorite room in the house and prepared himself to hear from some of the highest members of the family beneath him. The bookcases lining the walls drowned out the voices from the rest of the house as the family outside began whispering excitedly and consulting one another in numerous languages, the universal tongues being English and Italian.

The light in the study was muted, several small wall sconces adding their light from each break in the bookcases to give the room a relaxing glow. The doors to they had entered through were now closed from the outside and sealed leaving the four men inside to discuss their business in secrecy before revealing the results to the rest of the gathered family.

"I have heard from you already, Samuel," Pasquale said to the Dunsirn. "You have vouched for both your great-grandsons Keagan and Carmine. You feel they are both equally deserving of the Embrace?"

"Aye, I do," the man said, his heavy accent strong and proud.

Pasquale nodded, "Nicolino. Tell me about Carmine," he said, turning to face a fellow true Giovanni in the room.

Nicolino Giovanni smiled as he set his glass down on the heavy oak reading table he stood next to. He was full-blooded Italian after all and needed his hands to speak.

"Grazzii," He said before switching to English for the benefit of the Dunsirn in the room; he wasn't certain he was fluent in Italian and didn't wish to be rude.

“I feel Carmine is ready for the change,” Nicolino said. He tried hard to keep his voice neutral. “He is single-blooded, he has flourished under the Proxy Kiss, and even now he is developing necromantic skill. Little things, you know, but the potential in this kid.” He added, unable but to help getting a little excited.

The other Giovanni in the room let out a snort of distaste. He was Vincent Giovanni, a member of the clan who had gotten to where he was more from the sudden downfall of luck for those above him. Although no one could ever tie him directly to sabotaging some of his own family to get ahead it was still well known the type of slippery creature he was.

Ignoring his scoff, Nicolino continued, "You remember the time he went to stay in America, in Boston?" His words directed more at Samuel and Pasquale then at the man he would barely claim as a member of his family. "He helped negotiate with two of the cartels there. Brought the family a bigger piece of the action in the city and defused the situation with some of the groups there. He worked right beside your own cousin Paulie," he said, throwing in the direct family connection.

Pasquale nodded as the memories of those deeds were refreshed in his mind.

"Before that he had helped track down that stramaledetto (Italian: someone who is cursed, damned) here in Catania," he said, mock spitting on the floor in remembrance of the spurned Giovanni ghoul who was denied the Embrace one too many times and turned to darker forces to get an edge. The Baali had lured him in expertly, and it had been Carmine and a few other members of the family that put an end to him and his Baali dominators.

Again Pasquale nodded. Nicolino seemed pleased and was about to continue when Vincent chimed in. "Convenient that your grandson was there to end Mario's life," he spat. The ghoul that was killed was Vincent's own relative and it never sat well how things had happened in his territory, to his blood relative, without him even being consulted. "Especially with no proof." He added.

"They found him and two Baali in one of their churches!" Nicolino growled. "He was covered in blood from head to toe, all kinds of fucking symbols all over him! Your blood is foul, Vincent, and so is everyone of it!"

"Fuck you, Nicolino." Vincent said simply.

Pasquale held a hand up to interrupt the squabbling. "Please, Nico, continue."

"Forgive me, Don Pasquale. Carmine, yes." He said, refocusing his thoughts. "Aside from those accomplishments he has been working with my aunt and I. We have shown him the basics of Necromancy and the kid is like a sponge, Don Pasquale! He soaks up every bit of it and remembers it all. He can see through the shroud all by himself right now, my hand to God."

Don Pasquale was marginally impressed by the last bit. He hadn't been aware Carmine was that far along with the necromantic arts. He turned to Vincent at last and nodded.

"Tell me about your boy," he said. Vincent acquiesced to the request and spent the next few minutes talking up his own candidate for the Embrace. There would be only one tonight and Vincent was intent on making sure it was one of his choosing.

After each man had endorsed their candidate and they all made their points they emerged from the room and rejoined the rest of the familty. As they filed back into the room everyone awaited Don Pasquale's final decision.

"I thank you all for being here on this special night for these promising young men," Pasquale said gesturing to the three standing before the crowd waiting to see who's life would be changing radically tonight. "Each one has proved their worth to the family and are an asset to us all. Each of them has made the clan proud. But tonight we'll only be selecting one of them to take the next step."

He walked before the first man, a red-headed Irishman, obviously a Dunsirn. He placed his hand on the man's shoulder and spoke confidently. "You've done a great many things both here and back in your home country, and you make me and your uncle very proud. I feel one day you're going to be a very strong asset to this clan, but unfortunately I think you still have some work ahead of you. Keep your chin up, this isn't a 'no', this is a 'not yet'."

You could see the disappointment in the man's eyes but he simply nodded, "I understand, Don Pasquale. Thank you."

The Don patted his shoulder and then moved to stand between the other two candidates.

"Carmine and Salvatore," He said addressing them both but speaking loud enough so the rest of the gathered family could hear. "It was an incredibly tough decision tonight. Carmine, your help in Boston and with the family issue we had here a few years ago." He said nodding with a look of approval. "And Salvatore, the shipping contracts you helped secure for the family and your work with some of the banks here in the city." He looked back to the crowd. "Both of these men have given everything for the family, for us all, and it is because of men like these, loyal and capable men, that we continue to thrive in these nights."

Murmurs of agreement and approval rippled through the crowd before Pasquale continued.

"It is with great pleasure I choose Carmine Giovanni to be the next member of our clan!"

Some applauded, some were disappointed, and at least one was completely outraged. "This is complete bullshit!" Vincent Giovanni growled. "Salvatore has devoted his life to help this family succeed!"

"And so has Carmine," Pasquale countered in a soothing voice. "Both are worthy, undoubtedly."

Vincent's fury smoldered but he managed to keep his tongue.

Pasquale then turned to Nicolino who was almost beaming with pride. "The Embrace will be tonight and will be done by... Vincent."

Now it was Nicolino's turn to react. His mouth slowly gaped open as his eyes flashed from Vincent to Pasquale. "Don Pasquale, I beg you, not him. I understand your reason for not wanting it to be me... but not him."

The Giovanni were a family, but even that wouldn't ensure pure loyalty. Carmine was to be sired by someone who he disliked and distrusted for the greater good of the family. He would be the last person Vincent would enlist for treachery against their own. Also, Carmine would find himself bound by loyalty to the very family member he would most likely want to betray. It was one of the ways the Giovanni had operated for centuries. It was how the family continued to stay strong and move towards a singular purpose as one, rather than a splintering the family to differing agendas.

Carmine was a whirlwind of mixed emotions. He had worked hard to prove himself to the family and earn this... but there was no man he despised more than his uncle Vincent...and now he would never be rid of him. With hesitance, Carmine made his was over to Vincent and resigned himself to his fate.

On that night, Vincent Giovanni sired one of his great nephews and officially brought Carmine Giovanni into the family.

The Baali Incident

Carmine's eyes came open a little. His mind was a fog. He was face down on a cold stone floor, lit by flickering torchlight. The stone walls had no windows to tell him if it was day or night. There was a coppery taste in his mouth. Blood. He tried to think of where he could be, and why. A sharp pain in his side caught his breath when he tried to inhale too deeply. His whole body hurt. He throbbed everywhere. It felt as if someone had given him a thorough beating with a club.

The memory of the nightmare seeped back into his mind. He had been following his cousin, Paulie. The family had grown weary of him and tasked Carmine with finding out what he was up to. He tailed him to a rundown church on the outskirts of the city, and as he went to see what he was up to he was jumped. Carmine tried to remember what had hit him, it was dark and whatever it was had been a blur. All he knew was it hit with the force of a baseball bat and he was sure he had a cracked rib or two.

He looked around and took stock of his situation. He'd been stripped of everything; he was left with a t-shirt, boxer shorts, the chain his grandfather had given him before he died, and his gun holster thrown on the floor, obviously empty. He struggled to his feet, wincing in pain as he did, and made his way over to the barred door. The door had no handle so he assumed it was somehow locked from the outside. He grabbed a bar in each hand and gave the massive reinforced door a hard tug and it didn't budge an inch. With a growl of frustration he pushed his face up to the cell door and looked around.

At the far end of a hall with a dozen more doors like his Carmine could see a massive set of double doors standing open. Inside he saw his cousin and two other men he'd never seen before standing around a girl who was strapped to a table. The light danced in the room as the figures chanted over the girl. She struggled and screamed into her gag, but they ignored her. Carmine continued to watch as the horrific events unfolded.

One of the men, a short balding man who looked more suited to a desk job somewhere, lifted a wavy-bladed dagger from the table and held it up before the woman as he began chanting in more harsh tones. The others chanted faster, more ominously now, the tension building as their voices grew louder and louder. At the height of the ceremony, for there was little doubt that's what this was, the man plunged the dagger into her lower stomach. In one fluid motion he proceeded to unzip her flesh to the sternum and spread back the skin of her belly as if ripping open a bodice. He then dropped the knife and seized a section of her intestine and pulled it out while she howled into her gag.

The man lifted the intestine above his head, his chanting hypnotic now as he seemed to be overcome by a trance. The others gripped her intestine as well and pulled more of it from the cavity. Mercifully the woman had passed out... or perhaps she had died. Either way the screaming had stopped, and just as suddenly so did the chanting as the three men, his cousin included, began to eat the intestine straight from her body.

Carmine retched as he moved away from the bars. He had seem some incredibly foul things since Uncle Nicolino had begun to teach him necromancy, but nothing compared to butchering and eating someone like that. As the revulsion passed realization set in. He was in a cell in the basement of this church, he had seen his cousin and the other two in action and could lead the family back to this spot and identify them all.

And they knew that.

There was no chance he was going to get out of here alive. His mind began to swim as he looked around. The door was the only way in or out of the room and it was far too thick to even budge. He reached down rolling the gold chain he wore through his fingers as his mind raced... the gold chain... his grandfather had given him. Carmine's eyes widened as he looked down at the necklace. The gold chain his dead grandfather had given him!

Without wasting another moment Carmine laid the chain down in the middle of the floor and then bit into his finger until he drew blood. Moving his finger to the cold stone floor Carmine drew a circle around the necklace using his blood to bind the circle. Once closed he traced the runes as he had been taught around the edges of the circle and closed his eyes, whispering his grandfather's name over and over again, pouring his will into it.

The temperature in the room plummeted and Carmine felt the familiar terrifying descent as he reached across the shroud and felt his words carry into the realm of the dead. He felt things tugging at his consciousness there, urging him to join them, to step across the shroud and be one with them. He didn't know if anyone with the art could ever get that skilled in it, but he thought they would have to be foolish to try. "Grandfather... I need you..." he whispered again... and he got a reply.

"What is it, my son?" An ethereal voice asked in Italian.

Carmine's eyes flashed opened and before him stood the translucent visage of his grandfather just as he remembered him: the well-tailored suit from a time long past hanging gracefully upon him. A worn fedora perched on his head and a big, dark mustache dominating his otherwise tired and bony face.

"I need you to go to Uncle Nicolino immediately! Please! I need you to tell him I'm trapped here in the basement of this church. Tell him that Paulie is here with two other guys and they've got me locked up." Carmine swallowed, ending the endless stream of commands with one last one. "And... tell them to hurry."

His grandfather's form turned towards the door and seemed to be peering out at the men down the hall. His face turned to a scowl. Without another word the spirit faded away and left to relay the message.

It took less than an hour for the family to respond, and they did so in force. A half dozen men raided the church, freed Carmine, and pinned Paulie and his new-found vampire friends in the basement. The night ended with an out of control inferno that engulfed the entire church and took Paulie and his infernal friends with it.


The Rise of the Carnine

After the embrace Carmine’s life was full of uncertainty and frustration for the first few years as the uncle he trusted the least in his family oversaw his development and introduced him to the other side. Vincent made it no secret that he despised the very presence of Carmine and soon began giving him menial tasks more suited for a ghoul than a member of the family. Carmine would hide the occasional bodies as needed, transport some of the more important associates of Vincent and his people, and handle cover ups and cleanup as needed throughout the city.

Instead of resenting the role he was given or choosing to accept it as the punishment it was meant to be, Carmine excelled at what he did and turned it into much more. Together with his trusted ghoul, Mathias Bennici, he set up a network so elaborate even the Nosferatu would have been impressed. Word began to spread of the efficiency of the operation Carmine was carving out and even the elders began to know that if they had a problem anywhere near Carmine’s area they could get it resolved with a single call.

The network included at least a dozen warehouses and safe houses spread in and around the city, an established network of law enforcement officials, medical professionals, and all sorts of contacts in between including those from the other side of the shroud that his steadily increasing prowess with necromancy had opened up for him. A few well-placed bribes, a handful of ghouls in key areas, and the network was as reliable as such things could be. Did you have a mortal asset who’d been shot and couldn’t go to an official emergency room? A complete surgical staff would be standing by at a safe house within minutes. Did an unfortunate situation leave far too many dead bodies and perhaps a witness or two to clean up? The network handled that just as easily.

But as efficient and seamless of an operation as he ran, Carmine was blinded to the inner working of the family, specifically his Uncle Vincent, and soon the kingdom would crumble around him.

It all began routine enough as Carmine received a call from a local neonate he had crossed paths with once or twice in Uncle Vincent’s presence. He claimed he was caught on the other side of Italy, not far from Catania, and was being chased by hunters. Matthias and Carmen selected one of the nearest safe houses and set things in motion. Two local law enforcement officials were called as well as a half dozen other security personnel. Knowing the connection to Uncle Vincent meant this one needed to be handled carefully Carmine would have liked to be their himself, but with sunrise just around the corner he instead sent his most trusted ghoul, and man that had helped him build his empire, Mathias.

Upon rising the following night Carmine awoke to one of his retainers who bore a grim expression and a copy of the local paper which talked about the recent escalation two of the local organized crime families, one of which was firmly in the pocket of Uncle Vincent. It talked about how a small commercial district was turned into a warzone as the two groups engaged each other. With a glance at the small map snippet Carmine knew exactly where this had happened, and why his retainer looked so grim.

The assault was centered on the building they had setup as a safe house. The bodies of Mathias Bennici and several of his other assets and a smoldering, half-demolished warehouse was all that was left. The news was devastating to Carmine on both a personal and professional level. Losing two detectives and the foot soldiers Mathias had drummed up was a severe blow in itself, but losing Mathias, the one man who helped Carmine operate the network, was crippling.

Uncle Vincent was quick to offer his support and condolences, and even pressed a member of his own inner circle to help fill the void under the guise of helping Carmine rebuild the network but Carmine was sure he knew this was all a plot of Vincent’s.

The months passed slowly as Carmine tried to reestablish contacts, ensure the stability of working with him, and upping security protocols to prevent this kind of thing from ever happening again, but sadly he would never have time to complete the work.

The Will of the Elders

With events transpiring in London, and with the network Carmine had run in Catania almost all but shattered, Vincent saw the opportunity to be rid of Carmine once and for all. He proposed the notion that the services the network provided the Catania was just the type of thing that would be needed, especially when making the move into a new country. The beginning of establishing a Giovanni presence in London was sure to have bumps along the way and setting up the same kind of services there could not only ease the transition but also keep the Giovanni presence there safe.

The elders discussed it but all agreed to one degree or another that a network like the one Catania had running would be most beneficial in London. They had several of said networks all around Italy and into Germany, France, America, and almost every other country, so it only made sense.

What also made sense was selecting Carmine for the job. Sure there were other similar networks in place and perhaps even some that were better at it, but their operations were all in place and already operating. Pulling their organizers out would disrupt a fully functioning network while sending Carmine wouldn’t.

The next few months were filled with visits to London and shell corporations purchasing real-estate and buildings under different names for varying alleged purposes. The newly granted domains of some of the hospitals and urgent care facilities by the Camarilla expedited the process as well as Carmine laid the foundation for the next generation of his network.

In less than 6 months he had secured the necessary facilities, selected a new right-hand man, and seeded contracts and connections throughout all the appropriate places.

London was now ready to receive Carmine Giovanni.

_________________



Huginn and Muninn (Old Norse Huginn, “Thought” and Muninn, “Memory”) are the twin ravens of Norse mythology. They are the servants of the Norse All-Father, Odin, traveling to bring him reports of the affairs of the world.
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