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The Brothers of Mercy
09-02-2019, 01:09 PM
Post: #1
The Brothers of Mercy
The Brothers of Mercy (Fratelli della Misericordia) are an Anisoran crime syndicate and fratellanza ('brotherhood') operating in the city of Pena. This storyline thread contains strong language.

Chapter 1: Alicio

Adeleis, oldest of the Sisters, provided succour to all who did look to her for guidance. Shelter and kindness she did provide to all who needed it, and they that received her blessings were thankful.
Chapter 1: Adeleis, The Sisters of Mercy

The man known as Alicio nursed the glass of whiskey in his hand. He watched as the dark amber liquid swirled around the glass, the drink reflecting the dim candlelight that illuminated the cold cellar. He sighed and looked down at the man tied up before him.

“Signore Marconi, it grieves me to have to do this. But Big Brother has been very clear – she does not tolerate disobedience like this. Your little gambling den has failed time and again to recognise the Lamona-Erza stim as its rightful benefactor. Now, you know we only want to provide security for you and yours; for our stims to work together like good Orkanans. For the fulfilment of the Master Plan.”

Alicio took a swig of whiskey before bending down to stare into the swollen and bloody eyes of Signore Marconi. “But your continued and pointless resistance is hampering the fulfilment of Big Brother’s Master Plan. You wouldn’t want that now, would you? Coming from a good Orkanan stim as you do. No. Of course not. It’s in all of our interests to contribute to the Master Plan. But all of us must play our part.”

“Please” slurred Marconi, blood trickling down his chin.

“What was that?” Alicio said, stroking his moustache with his free hand. Marconi tried to open his eyes but collapsed into a coughing fit. Alicio stood back to avoid the sprays of blood coughed up by Marconi. After a moment it was clear he didn’t have the energy to speak.

“Perhaps our guest is thirsty” said Alicio looking around, gesturing with his empty glass to one of his men in the corner. “Little brother, fetch our guest a drink.” The man took the glass and began pouring a whiskey into the tumbler. “I would hate for our guest to think us unhospitable” he said, taking the now filled tumbler. He jerked Marconi’s head up and poured the amber liquid onto the man’s scarred and bloody face. The man shouted in pain as the spirit seeped into his open wounds.

“Please…” Marconi shouted, “it’s not up to me… my father…”

“Your father,” replied Alicio, “is a bastard whose delusions of grandeur have landed you in this mess, Signore Marconi. Your upstart father thinks he can create his own fratellanza – in OUR neighbourhood. No, Signore Marconi, that cannot be allowed to stand. That is unacceptable.” He bent back over the tied-up man and grabbed his face, their noses an inch apart. “You will go to your bastard father. You will tell him that there is only one Fratellanza in this part of town and that they are called the Brothers of Mercy. You and your whole fucking stim will step into line or you and all those you love will know what it is like to receive the Brothers’ mercy. And believe me when I say this, the blessed Sisters will provide no comfort if that happens, for there is only one Master Plan that matters – and that is ours.”

A cold silence descended in the cold cellar. “Well?” asked Alicio expectantly.

Signore Marconi looked up at Alicio and opened his eyes. He nodded shallowly and gurgled blood slightly before saying quietly, “I’ll tell him.”

Alicio clapped his hands loudly, making Marconi flinch in his chair. “Excellent” Alicio said with a broad smile. “That wasn’t so hard now was it? I’m proud of you. But I hope you appreciate how I’ve gone out on a limb for you, Signore Marconi. A number of my brothers would have preferred to kill you here and now. But I know you’ll deliver for us. I would hate to have to explain to my brothers how my faith in you was misplaced. You won’t let me down, will you Signore Marconi?”

Marconi shook his head. “No, Brother Alicio”.

“Good man. Now, you come from a good stim, so I know you won’t forget your manners. I’ve put my neck on the line for you, Signore Marconi, after all.”

Marconi looked up at Alicio, confusion on his face, before he realised what was expected of him. “Thank you, Brother Alicio”.

Alicio nodded in satisfaction. “Good.” He turned to his little brother with a smile, “respect and gratitude – that’s all we ask for, isn’t it?” His smile was returned by the little brother before Alicio turned to look at the exhausted Marconi. “Clean him up and drop him in front of his father’s bar. If this doesn’t teach that bastard his rightful place, we’ll bring our mercy down upon all their heads.”

09-02-2019, 02:56 PM
Post: #2
RE: The Brothers of Mercy
Chapter 2: Emerentio

And Ermana, the second Sister, was most beloved of the stim. For she did provide security and safety for all those who needed it, with an empathy and compassion most rare among mortals.
Chapter 2: Ermana, The Sisters of Mercy

“He did what?” The man known as Emerentio looked furious, his lips curling in anger. Forgetting the half-eaten bowl of fish stew on the table in front of him, his eyes burrowed into the messenger. “I haven’t got all fucking day.”

The messenger, a young man who was no older than 17, stood in front of Brother Emerentio, clearly nervous. “One of the Brothers of Harbard’s boys, they – they started a fight in a bar in east Pena. It got nasty and Giuliano Faletti, the brother-in-law of our little brother Andrea, was shanked. It looks like one of the Harbard’s little brothers purposefully tried to kill him.”

There was a moment of silence. Emerentio’s wife Luciana, who sat on his right, put a hand on his leg in a subtle gesture to temper his anger.

“The fucking Harbards!” shouted Emerentio. “They’re testing our resolve, the bastards. The Faletti stim is joined to ours by marriage – that makes them untouchable. An attack on them is an attack on us – and they fucking know it.”

“How do we know that the Harbard brother singled out Faletti?” said Luciana. “This might have just been a brawl that got out of hand.”

Emerentio didn’t give the messenger a chance to answer. “That isn’t the fucking point. If one of our brothers or the brothers of our brothers is attacked, that’s an affront to this stim. I don’t care if they didn’t know who Faletti was – that’s their problem, not Faletti’s. This slight needs to be answered. The security of the outer stim is the security of the inner stim. It’s a matter of respect, and this attack is a show of disrespect.”

“How is Fatelli?” asked Luciana.

“The doctor’s with him now,” replied the messenger. “He doesn’t look good. He says he’s lost a lot of blood.”

“If he fucking dies there will be reprisals” shouted Emerentio, slamming his hand on the table. “Death can only be answered by death – that’s the law of Vendetta. But until he dies, we have to pay like for like. Big Brother is away on business in Arrento and so, as head of stim security, I say we take the bar.”

The young messenger’s nervousness dissipated at the prospect of a fight. He started nodding, his eyes determined.

“What’s the name of the bar?”

“The Marquess of Peradotto, Brother” said the messenger.

“Right. We take it tonight.” He turned to his wife. “Love, send your brother down to the Forena district and make sure the local police are pulled back. Take the money from our takings today. If there’s any trouble, ask to see Sergeant Acullio – he’s one of ours.”

She nodded, getting up from the table, clearly annoyed that her dinner was being interrupted.

Emerentio turned to the messenger. “Round up some of your little brothers and a few recruits. Tonight’s work will show them that we protect our own. I want no shotguns or pistols used unless absolutely necessary. This is vendetta work, so take knives. Once we’ve thrown them out of the bar, we’ll burn it to the ground. These fuckers will learn what happens when they think they can get away with attacking our stim.” He gestured with his hand and dismissed the messenger, who nodded in respect and left the room, clearly excited.

Emerentio shook his head in anger, pulling a knife from his pocket and slamming it on the table. He unfolded the vendetta knife, admiring the polished metal and engraving along the blade’s side, a line from the Sisters of Mercy: ‘Let he who deserves it receive the Sisters’ mercy’. There was no question in Emerentio’s mind: these bastards deserved every ounce of the Brothers’ mercy tonight.

09-09-2019, 03:09 PM
Post: #3
RE: The Brothers of Mercy
Chapter 3: Vallentino

Happiness is forgiveness. So counselled wise Vallentina, the third Sister, who did come to love those whom wronged her, and thereafter found serenity and happiness in the world.
Chapter 3: Vallentina, The Sisters of Mercy

The woman known as Vallentino stared at the photograph. It was worn at the edges with a heavy crease along the centre where it had been folded many times over many years. While beginning to fade, the figure in the black and white photograph could still be made out – a teenage girl with jet black hair and delicate, fading features. Her daughter Catarina.

It had been over 15 years since she had been killed. The vendetta between the Brothers of Mercy and the Brothers of Harbard had been formally declared two days before and as a close member of the Lamona-Erza stim, Catarina had been singled out as a target by the Harbards. She had been walking home from school with an escort of two bodyguards when a motorcar sped past them, rifles firing indiscriminately at the group. She died immediately after a bullet penetrated her skull, the gore of which prevented an open casket at her funeral.

Vallentino remembered the coldness she felt after seeing her daughter’s mutilated body; a coldness that had never left her. All emotions from sadness to despair remained abstract concepts to Vallentino – only a detached and perpetual hatred fuelled her. She had personally killed two of the men who had fired at her daughter, one with a vendetta knife across the throat and the second with a bullet in the face. But it had brought her no satisfaction. Nor did killing the young daughter of one of the Harbard’s senior stim members in retribution. The emptiness endured, and as the memory of her daughter faded, her cold hatred of the Brothers of Harbard hardened into an all-encompassing obsession.

Vallentino swayed slightly on the spot, placing a hand on a wall to support herself. She had been drinking all day, as she had been every day since her daughter had been killed. She took a swig of gin from her flask, the harsh liquor reviving her slightly as she looked around her. Numerous other Brothers of Mercy members stood ready, looking around the corner towards the bar known as the Marquess of Peradotto. It was pitch dark, but the vendetta knives and other blades her brothers wielded twinkled in the light from the nearby houses. She turned behind her as raised voices could be heard.

“For fuck sake Ermino, I told you. Go back home – you’re too young!” Vallentino’s brother Luigi grabbed his son Ermino and pushed him away.

“Pa, I can fight. You know I can! These bastards need to pay!” protested the young boy.

“I know you can. But if your mother knew you were here, she would kill you and then me, never mind these bastards.” He gestured over his shoulder towards the bar they were about to storm. “Go the fuck home, boy! You’ll get your chance to prove yourself soon enough.”

The young Ermino stared up at his father and for a second Vallentino thought he was going to defy his father further. But he gave up, his anger subsiding into disappointment as he turned back towards the motor trucks that had brought them all here. As the young boy walked sulkily back, Vallentino realised he was the same age as Catarina had been when she had been killed. He hadn’t even been born when the vendetta had been declared over 15 years ago. That thought didn’t move her; nor did his raven black hair that was so similar to Catarina’s. She looked back down at the photograph. The love she bore her daughter had long been subsumed by the cold hatred she felt for those she was about to fight. She finished her pre-battle ritual by kissing the photograph and replacing it inside her jacket pocket.

“Right, brothers” shouted the man known as Emerentio, head of stim security. “We’re here to teach these bastards a lesson about our mercy! I want no guns – we don’t need them. We’re here to take this bar in retribution for the attack on our cousin – the Brothers of Mercy never forget!”

Cheers went up and Emerentio led the assembled mob towards the bar entrance. Vallentino removed her vendetta knife from her coat. As she walked towards the bar she unfolded it, her eyes passive, her hands steady, hatred in her heart.

Emerentio kicked the door open and immediately punched the first man he came across. The rest of the Brothers rushed in, Vallentino among them. She reached the bar and locked eyes with a young man in a shoddy suit. His brown eyes betrayed his fear and Vallentino, ignoring the orders for relative restraint, slashed him across the face with her knife, blood spraying everywhere. She rushed him, ignoring his screams and the carnage around her. Grabbing his hair she smashed his head on the bar counter, cutting his shouts abruptly short. She snatched a bottle of whiskey that stood on the counter and turned around, smashing it across the face of the first stranger she came across, sending a large man to the floor. She looked down at the man with disgust, bringing down her booted foot onto his head. As she lifted her foot for another blow a punch landed on the right side of her face, searing pain shooting through her head. She reeled back and moved just in time to avoid a second punch. She ducked and landed a blow in the man’s stomach, bringing her knife around to strike the man’s face. His arm blocked her attack and she was sent backwards by a powerful blow to her side.
As she reeled from the punch, a bang resounded in her ears and the man in front of her collapsed to the floor. A pool of blood began to form under his body as she looked to the man who had fired the shot – a little brother by the name of Lorenzo.

“What the fuck did I tell you about guns?!” yelled Emerentio, pushing the man he was fighting into the wall before turning to face Lorenzo. With the red mist descended over Emerentio, it was unclear whether he was going to punch Lorenzo or not, but he just shook his head and clapped him around the ear. By this point the bar was quiet, with most of the patrons of the Marquess of Peradotto either knocked out, bleeding out, or with their hands up. “Fuck sake - he better not be someone important” he said before turning to the address the bar. “Now listen to me – we’re the Brothers of Mercy. Never fucking forget it!”

He kicked at a man moaning on the floor and jerked his head in gesture for his brothers to remove those who had surrendered and those who were knocked out. Moaning bodies began to be moved and dumped outside the bar unceremoniously. Vallentino jumped behind the bar and poured herself a gin, downing the tumbler, the alcohol dulling the pain in her head and side.

The fight had raised her heartrate, but she still felt emptiness inside. She watched as the men she had fought were dragged out of the building they were about to torch – she wished they were being left inside to burn. It didn’t occur to her that most of the people in the bar were just in the wrong place at the wrong time and had no connection to the Brothers of Harbard. But she didn’t care. It was all the same to her; she hated them all, regardless.

A few minutes later, gin bottle in hand, she left the bar and watched as Emerentio smashed a few bottles of liquor, setting them alight. The Brothers of Mercy, many nursing injuries, watched as the flames ripped through the bar, the rippling light reflecting off the bloodied knives and bloodshot eyes that stood on the street.

Staring into the flames, feeling no better than she had when she entered the building, she realised that no matter how many people she killed or maimed, she would never get her daughter back – nor her sense of self. But that was beside the point. Vendetta wasn’t about that. It was about hatred and tireless vengeance. That, Vallentino thought, was the only thing she lived for now.

09-24-2019, 02:31 PM
Post: #4
RE: The Brothers of Mercy
Chapter 4: Mario

Long-suffering Marriandra, the fourth Sister, did endure her unjust trial and separation from her sisters with forbearance, treating those who condemned her with benevolence and temperance.
Chapter 4: Marriandra, The Sisters of Mercy

“I’m going to kill that Pastanan bastard”. The man known as Mario spat on the floor, his eyes fixed on the door of his cell, behind which a guard stood. The guard started to whistle, a tune Mario knew from his childhood – an old Orkanan hymn. He clenched his jaw, trying to suppress his anger.

The guard’s wife had given birth a month ago and he had taken to fatherhood like a duck to water, or so he had claimed. Songs Mario had not heard since he was a child were now the soundtrack to his incarceration. It was infuriating – made all the more unbearable by the guard’s Pastanan accent. Mario had never abided Pastanans.

The guard started to sing:

“Onwards children, the joy of Vind,
Your pilgrimage has only just begun;
What role will you play, the stim asks?
What happiness will you bring?”

“Shut the fuck up” said Mario, just loud enough for the guard to hear. The guard stopped singing and turned to face the door, peering through the bars at Mario.
“I think I’ll continue, if it’s all the same to you, Prisoner Romoretto” the guard said with a malicious smile. He turned back around and continued to sing, slightly louder and with more enthusiasm than before.

The fact that they used his real name in here still irked Mario – it showed a lack of respect. But what could one expect from these Pastanans? That’s why he had been sent to a Pastanan prison across the Medio Sea, Mario thought – to separate him from civilised Casellans who understood the respect he was due as a Brother of Mercy. In a prison in Pena or Arrento he would have his own servant and chef.

A young associate by the name of Dante had volunteered to accompany Mario to prison – it being the young lad’s test for promotion to the rank of little brother, ‘fratellino’. But the magistrate the fratellanza had bribed at Mario’s trial seven years ago had been mysteriously replaced at the last minute by another judge. He had sent Mario down for 11 years even though Big Brother had arranged for a sentence of only five years with the previous magistrate. On top of that, the bastard judge had sent Mario to Pastana, with Dante remaining in prison back in Pena – so no servant, no chef, and no good company. Only this Pastanan guard and his dreadful singing voice.

“The world and Vind are new to you,
Their wonders yet to be seen.
Let us raise our voices in hopeful thanks,
For the Master Plan is richer with thee.”

Mario wanted to scream. He had long fantasised about killing this guard – a shot to the head; a vendetta knife across the throat; smothering him in his sleep. In his darkest days he had even imagined killing his new-born son, just to see the expression on the guard’s face. Let’s see how enthusiastic his singing would be then, he had thought. But Mario knew that he would settle with the guard’s death. When he got out of here and back to his Brothers in Pena, he would find this guard across the sea in Pastana and arrange an ‘accident’. That thought put a smile on his face, and he relaxed back into his bunk – channelling out the sound of the hymn as best as he could.

Seven years he had been in prison – with over four years of his sentence remaining. That thought was less encouraging. But Mario knew the welcome his Brothers would give him upon his return would make it worth it. His position on the fratellanza’s Consiglio di Casa, or stim council, was beyond doubt; Big Brother, his aunt by blood, had said as much to him after his trial. And she had since been in and out of jail herself, so she now knew what it was like to serve time. But those extra years on his own sentence and being sent to Pastana still drove him to anger. Somebody had arranged for his tame judge to be replaced at the last minute – and Mario had no doubt in his mind that the Brothers of Harbard had been behind it. If it wasn’t for them, he would be free now. He kicked the wall to release some of his anger.

“We take this journey together, children,
For you do not yet know the Way.
But soon you shall and by your light
Will guide your own children someday.”

Of even greater satisfaction to Mario than fantasising about killing his guard was planning what he would do to the Brother of Harbard who had arranged his extended sentence. Big Brother had promised him she would find out who had been responsible, but she herself was arrested soon afterwards. She had not long been released from prison when she had written to Mario – she had not forgotten her promise, and would find who was responsible. Regardless, with so many hours of the day to fill, he focused on planning his revenge alone. Whether it be against an individual or against all the Brothers of Harbard, his mercy would know no bounds.

“Onwards children, the joy of Vind,
Your pilgrimage has only just begun;
We stand with pride together now,
Fulfilling the Master Plan as one.”

“Little does this bastard know”, thought Mario with satisfaction, “the only Master Plan that matters has him dead in a ditch." The Brothers' mercy knows no bounds...


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