The Martezi Family

You can either deal with the devil - or let us do it for you.  
— Simo Martezi
  To hear them tell it, the Martezi are a venerable bloodline of mages that stretch back to ancient times, proud bearers of lost traditions. Others call them vultures that feast on misfortune, a clan of fraudsters and a house of lies, among less polite epithets. What can't be denied by even their fiercest detractors is the family business - the Martezi seal pacts, and they are very good at what they do. While any wizard can deal with the devil, the Martezi have elevated into an art form. For a price, they'll help anyone find the right spirit, hammer out the terms, and even pay tribute once or twice.   Exactly what the Martezi do with their treasures is anyone's guess, and that guess is 'nothing good'.  

The Family Business

Just think of us as your legal representatives in Hell.  
— Vittori Martezi
  From their roost in northern Italy, the Martezi family lend their mercenary pact-binding to anyone who will pay their fee. Estimates put their number at about two dozen, with maybe half of that being Aware. The rest are mundane folk, lacking either the will or inclination to be inducted to the house proper, but aware enough to help out.  
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by Rawpixel.com (Freepik)
The number of Aware family members in the Martezi house is... Unusual. Enough so that many speculate they must have secured some spectacularly potent pact. Magic doesn't run in blood, no matter what people would like or how they try to force it.  
Many would kill to know exactly how they managed that trick.
  Despite their secrecy and lies, the Martezi family business is in high demand. Enough so that there's often a queue, and people willing trade favors to get on the waiting list. No matter what the family asks, it's usually a great deal safer than traveling to the Beyond, or dealing with unfamiliar monsters. The Martezi have accumulated a great deal of knowledge which entities are too dangerous with which to truck, and can advise accordingly.
 
And for those who insist on that anyway, they can charge extra.
  The Martezi's success has made them wealthy and powerful, even without the pacts they've almost certainly made for themselves. They stay neutral in most of what goes on in the Shadow, and any squabbling factions usually leave them alone in turn. If not respected, the family is at least feared and their talents acknowledged.  

The Family Tree

Nunquam non paratus - Never unprepared  
— Martezi Family Motto
  The Martezi actually consists of three major families, with the latter two being absorbed by the first through marriage, conquest, or scheming. In addition to that, there are at least another three minor families, some no larger than a married couple. To the outside world, they are all Martezi, but within the family walls, there's a pecking order, with the Martezi eternally at the top.  

Martezi

The original family, with claims of heritage that range from ancient Rome to sunken Atlantis. What's known for sure is they were definitely around in the early 19th century, but the Veil makes anything past that uncertain. Others think even that is just another lie, placing the Martezi origins at less than fifty years.   They're the largest of the families, calling all the shots.

Del Monaco

Married into the family proper sometime in the 20th century, the Del Monaco have been on-and-off part of Martezi since. They have a considerable family branch of mundane folk that are unaffiliated, and unaware, of the Martezi.   The Del Monaco often recruits promising talent from this extended family. When they make such offers, they don't take no for an answer.

Pelliccia

The least of the three main families and on their way out. Exactly why isn't clear, and no one in the Martezi are talking about it. Wagging tongues say its members objected to whatever the Martezi were planning, and are paying the prize for it.   Other blame some murderous family drama, and wonder how long the Pelliccia have left before their branch is cut from the family tree entirely.
 

Simo Martezi, the Ancient Matriarch

Age before beauty, power before youth.
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by Pixabay
An elegant woman with greying hair but indeterminable age, Simo Martezi claims to be the matriarch and originator of the Martezi family. At even the most conservative estimate of the family's history, it would make her at least a century and a half old - many times that, according to other versions of their tale.   Though she is rarely seen outside family estates in the modern age, all know her to be a powerful witch, able to call on a number of pacts thought impossible to hold. Those who have met her say she is a charming matron, overprotective of guests and not shy about flaunting the family's vast fortune and power.
   

Lucio Del Monaco, International Man of Mystery

No story is so good that I can't improve it!
 
Lucio can generously be described as the Martezi's PR guy, and less generously as an expert con-man and professional liar. He keeps the truth of the family obfuscated, inventing new stories about the Martezi origin almost by the decade, shifting details to suit new clients, new developments. Just as important, he drip-feeds bits and pieces of truth, all while marketing the family's services. No one - mage or monster - will ignore a yarn spun by Lucio, and it is said he has enraptured demons into pact by nothing more than a good story.   Despite the century that sets them apart, Lucio has been Simo's lover for at least a decade. How that came to be and what they do behind closed doors, however, is one tale he will not tell.   To outsiders, he is friendly and energetic, always entertaining but never to be trusted. He is an excellent host to visitors, and is more often than not the face of the family.
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by Unsplash (Sammy Williams)
   

Vittori Martezi, the Progidal Son

Listen, if you want the best - I'm it. There's no pact I can't bind.
 
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by Unsplash (Jaroslav Devia)
The son of Simo and her previous, now deceased, husband, Vittori has always been the favorite. Since he was born, he has been spoiled rotten and told about the great destiny that awaits him - none of which has made him terribly pleasant to be around. To his credit, Vittori's arrogance has been blunted in his thirties after a few run-ins with reality, and he isn't quite as obnoxious as he used to be. He has come to see social interactions as a sort of pact-making among humans. It's always easier to seal a deal if the other side doesn't hate you.   Worse for those eager to hate him, Vittori is nearly as good as he thinks. He is a skilled summoner for his age, with an impressive network of information that lets him ferret out just the right target for a pact. Add to that an inability to turn down a challenge, and he really is a formidable ally to have.
   

Cecilia Pelliccia, the Black Sheep

How's this for a pact - get me the fuck out of this madhouse!
 
Part of a minor branch of the family, whatever the Martezi had in store for Cecilia, she wanted no part of it. Being on the run for the better part of a decade, she's developed a rebellious streak that'd make any punk proud, but the fear in her eyes has never quite gone away.   Nobody's sure exactly what made her flee, and she isn't telling. This silence is the only thing that keeps the Martezi from really hunting her down, and she knows it.
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by Unsplash (Rhett Wesley)

Pacts

Pacts are contracts signed with entities of power, usually from the Beyond, where a Magi makes a promise in exchange for some boon. These range from small and fleeting, such as safe passage through a part of the Beyond or the Key to a particular Gate, all the way to immortality and forbidden, blasphemous powers. The price paid rises accordingly, and only fools make such promises lightly.  
Pacts
Condition | Jul 8, 2021

Making a deal with a devil, and its consequences.

And whatever else the Martezi are, 'fools' is not among them.
 

From the Beyond

The Beyond is a realm of monsters and magic, of wonder and horror, far from the mortal world. Here, spirits, gods, and demons dwell among impossible, myth-shrouded lands. Getting there is difficult, and getting out can be even worse.   Almost all entities of power worth sealing a pact with lives in the Beyond, in castles made out of dreams and nightmares, in fear-shadowed forests of primordial glories, or among a thousand different hells.  
The Beyond
Geographic Location | Jul 3, 2021

The world beyond all other worlds, a place of wonder and horror in equal measure.

Familiars

A common pact to make is for a Familiar - spirits housed in stolen flesh. Anchored in a corpse prepared for it to inhabit, spirits that would normally struggle to remain in the Prime has a sanctuary. From there, they can serve the Magi who bound it.  
Familiars
Species | Jul 11, 2021

Spirits from the great Beyond, clad in stolen flesh and bound by arcane Pacts. Get yours spayed and neutered today.

 
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by Pixabay
For reasons known only to them, the Martezi refuse to aid in any pacts involving vampires - and will cut a discount if a pact is meant to help destroy a bloodsucker or two.
 

Apocalypse Party Pacts

One part Burning Man, one part vigil, the Apocalypse Prevention Party is an irregularly held festival deep within the Shadow. Here, party-goers bar the Gate to the Sea of Tranquility on the moon in the rare times when the gate opens, preventing anyone from going up there and doing something stupid.   The Martezi family always attend in some form, renewing pacts with guardian monsters or binding new ones - free of charge, for once.   Whatever their plans are, the earth being devoured by the moon isn't part of them.  
The Apocalypse Prevention Party
Tradition / Ritual | Jul 6, 2021

Saving the world and getting drunk at the same time.

 
Only a select few know exactly what the moon is, but it's common knowledge in the magical community that it is very, very bad news. If it awakens, that's probably it for the world.
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by Rawpixel.com (Freepik)
 

The Thing In The Basement

On the few occasions the Martezi has been forced to defend themselves or found someone particularly worthy of their ire, they put their pact-binding talents to lethal use. Monsters bound by pact and paid in blood are unleashed upon the family's enemies, or spirits are made to harry their every waking moment. It's only the expense of such an assault that limits the Martezi to short, blitzing offenses.   But for more tenacious foes, the family has another weapon. Someone, or something, is buried deep in the vaults beneath the family estates, bound by enchanted chains and wards, waiting to be released.

The Many Lies of Lucio Del Monaco

Something's going on in there, and I've got a bad feeling about it.  
  Depending on what day it is, Lucio will have a different tale to tell about the origins of the Martezi family and the reason for their talents. Some of them are even true, but no one knows exactly what parts of which stories. A small group of magi collect the more entertaining versions and sometimes place bets on what the next will be.  

Atlantis

It's true. We are the inheritors of ancient Atlantis, and the magic we wield comes from that forgotten place. No, no, don't look for it - some secrets are best left sunken. All of us Martezi remember the evils of that place, and that's why we do what we do, you see. To prevent such catastrophes from happening again, by making sure no pact ever goes so far.
 
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by Visnezh (Freepik)


Cover image: by Unsplash

Comments

Author's Notes

I'll expand the last section of Lucio's Many Lies later on. For now, there's more prompts to do!


Please Login in order to comment!
5 Jul, 2021 13:12

'Something's going on in there, and I've got a bad feeling about it.' : That is my mood throughout this article :p very nicely done in both content and layout again Q ^^ I love that you dicsuss the most important members and that there are so many side stories going on like the Moon and the thing in the basement . Scary stuff ^^

Feel free to check out My Ship entry if you want to see what I am up to!
5 Jul, 2021 13:38

Thank you :D I am very happy with it, haha! I'm glad it hit the spot!

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
5 Jul, 2021 17:15

as usual, the first quote has me hooked. I love that you set them up as legal representatives in dealing with pacts. I don't think ive seen that before. it makes sense that they would exist.   caught this while reading.   :, and people willing trade favors to get on the waiting list." willing to, i think.     I like how you delve in the family ties, having other families married in and the like. That's some attention to detail right there. cecilia is my favorite. the quote made me laugh. I'm a sucker for that and im curious just what made her leave. The family is powerful so i imagine it could take a lot to just give it up unless maybe they had plans for her that would be detrimental to her well being.   excellent work as always Q. on to the next!

6 Jul, 2021 07:14

You might have hit on the reason why she ran there... ;)   Thank you Dyl, I'm glad you liked it :D

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
6 Jul, 2021 10:36

Seems like great people! Vittori is my fav. I'm sure they must have lots of fascinating secret even if it's not as incredible as the atlantide :p looking forwards to you adding some more of those rumours later :D is there any theory people have about that basement? O_o

Feel free to check my ship challenge article.
6 Jul, 2021 11:32

Simo's ex-husband did disappear rather suddenly...

6 Jul, 2021 21:47

I'm also surprised to hear Vittori is *anyone's* favorite XD

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
6 Jul, 2021 23:43

I like arrogant and competent characters XD That whole family is really my type :p

Feel free to check my ship challenge article.
Sage eccbooks
E. Christopher Clark
6 Jul, 2021 23:25

I have no idea how you do it! This article, and all the articles I've read from you so far this Summer Camp, feel so full and complete. Meanwhile, I struggle to hit 300 words.   Anyway, great work here. I especially love the structure. I can get all the information I really need up front, but then I can dive deeper and deeper into specific characters as I have time.

8 Jul, 2021 14:20

Taking 2 weeks of vacation helped! :)   Thank you :D

6 Jul, 2021 23:39

What an interesting and terrifying family. I think Lucio has to be my favourite, though I want to stay as far away from the Martezi family as physically possible.   '...which entities are too dangerous for which to truck' What does this mean? Is there a typo? Am confuse.   Great article. I look forward to reading more of Lucio's lies later! :D

8 Jul, 2021 15:16

I'm looking forward to writing them, too. :D Lucio is gonna be a great character to write!   The 'for' should be a 'with', I think. Thanks for pointing that out! Now I can fix it :D

7 Jul, 2021 01:12

I know! They wanted to kill Cecilia and use her body as a host for the thing in the basement. Like the familiars do!!! Or maybe they wanted Cecilia to make a pact with the thing? So many devilish possibilities :)

Am I writing or procrastinating? Take a guess and visit Hanzelot
8 Jul, 2021 15:14

You're close... If it's bullseye close or not, I'll leave you in anticipation :3

7 Jul, 2021 18:40

It is always a delight to get my daily darkness from one of your articles, even though that's just a recent thing I've developed. :P Fantastic read through and through! I like the balance of details and the little family tree. :D Keep up the good work! ^^

Hey you! Yes, you! You're writing amazing articles, don't forget that!
15 Jul, 2021 05:05

Magical Mafia? My goodness, I love them.   The section going into depth on each member of the family was really well done, as well :D   Man, you are DOMINATING summer camp, Q <3


Cathedris, the world of God-husks and New Magic, welcomes you.
15 Jul, 2021 07:15

Ahaha, I don't know about that, I'm just having fun <3   Thank you :D