The Martezi Family
You can either deal with the devil - or let us do it for you.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.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.
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 unpreparedThe 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.
MarteziThe 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 MonacoMarried 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.
PellicciaThe 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.
Lucio Del Monaco, International Man of Mystery
No story is so good that I can't improve it!
Vittori Martezi, the Progidal Son
Listen, if you want the best - I'm it. There's no pact I can't bind.
Cecilia Pelliccia, the Black Sheep
How's this for a pact - get me the fuck out of this madhouse!
PactsPacts 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.
And whatever else the Martezi are, 'fools' is not among them.
From the BeyondThe 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 world beyond all other worlds, a place of wonder and horror in equal measure.
FamiliarsA 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.
Spirits from the great Beyond, clad in stolen flesh and bound by arcane Pacts. Get yours spayed and neutered today.
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 PactsOne 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
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.