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Literature / Sangue Serenissima

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Sangue Serenissima is a supernatural horror story by Scraggle and VineLightnote , and officially the first entry in the crossover between The Never Mythos and The Kindness of Devils, known as the first of the Lonely Dreams Cycle. It can be read here.

In mid-1700s Venice, a member of a supernatural flock dedicated to giving a home to the anomalous and aberrant of supernatural society is murdered in an unprecedented fashion. Thirsty for retribution, the leader of the flock calls on the services of Eliza Cortly and Hardestadt Delac, and the three finds themselves in a plot to unearth knowledge from beyond the veil of the universe.


The work contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Actual Pacifist: Eliza is a total pacifist and doesn't kill, or even allow anyone to die if there's another solution. Even a horrific monster from The City Of Never. She also technically doesn't put a single finger on Coyte in order to defeat him; she just cuts off his power supply, leaving him to be pinned to the ground by the weight of his own mutations whereupon Eliza leaves him for Hardestadt and Adam.
  • A Father to His Men: The mysterious Adam is almost a messianic figure to the outcasts he finds and takes in, loving his flock dearly.
  • A Fête Worse Than Death: The Masque of Madness is referenced by Adam, being an event where Hardestadt battled his Archenemy Nyarlathotep in 1699, glimpsed briefly in The Dreams of Lonely Stars.
  • Anti-Hero: Adam is patient and dedicated to protecting his flock, but he also admits he has zero interest in ethics or morals and reportedly murdered a taxman for the sake of protecting his flock's sanctity.
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  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Hardestadt's investigative abilities are as exceptional as ever, and he quickly analyzes opponents in the heat of battle. Even Adam seems impressed how much he's pieced together in just three hours. He later discerns different types of forbidden arts the thing in the patchwork cloak is using, and even seemingly pieces together why it is targeting Seers with little to go on.
  • Badass Boast: Per usual, Hardestadt gets a few. "“There will be no need to evacuate. Because the thing that will save this city is me."
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Eliza can be positively deadly when her ire is roused and flat out tries to kill the thing in the cloak.
  • Big Bad: The "thing in the patchwork cloak," a mysterious, horrific abomination hunting down the Seers in the Sodality with an apparent interest in Eliza Cortly. His true identity is Eliphas Coyte, the titular antagonist of The Englishman, having made good on his promise to keep hunting further and further for the unknown — regardless if all Venice has to die.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The 'skin-grazers,' creatures created by the thing in the patchwork cloak, are large, red creatures that blend different types of insect — and human(oid) — together.
  • Brain Food: The thing in the patchwork cloak feasts on the cranial nerves of Seers, leaving their brains as desiccated husks.
  • Breather Episode: The scene of Hardestadt's questions game with Eliza is more lighthearted and sweet than anything else in the story.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • As Hardestadt is still alive in modern day, the thing in the patchwork cloak antagonizing him while while being wholly unaware of what he truly is, believing him to be just a powerful vampire or godborn is likely going to be a mistake.
    • Likewise, it's a former disciple of Nyarlathotep and abandoned him. Given Nyarlathotep's hideously possessive attitude towards anything he considers his, this is most unwise.
  • Call-Back: The thing in the patchwork cloak references "the Eye" in reference to Adam, and from his reaction, there's a clear unfortunate connection there. It's revealed that the thing in the cloak is Eliphas Coyte.
  • Cheerful Child: Julio, one of Eliza's youngest disciples and one of the few she's ever managed to meet in person, is an adorable and enthusiastic youth who has total faith and love in his master's abilities.
  • Combat Compliment: Hardestadt returns these to Adam during their sword duel. It's not unfounded, as Adam is enough to challenge even Hardestadt for a fair while, although Hardestadt does end up the victor.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • Every Seer taken by the thing in the patchwork cloak suffers a horrific fate from having their brains bored into, having their cranial nerves agonizingly stimulated so the villain can get high off the chemical released while devouring the nutrients of the brain. The first victim, Peyton, later shown with seemingly no trauma dealt to his body whatsoever — except his brain has been withered into ash. Julio's death shows this most explicitly, with the thing making him last over half-an-hour in agony before he finally dies.
    • One of the thing in the patchwork cloak's minions suffers a godawful fate as well when a very, very angry Hardestadt is disarmed. He seizes it by the head and presses his hands against it until they meet in the middle.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Adam is hinted to be involved in dark things involving the mysterious "Eye", and Eliza is a former Contessa who left her husband (who's hinted to have exercised a Marital Rape License)... whereupon the Cortly lands mysteriously' vanished with the Count having never been seen again. That's not even covering her history with the monstrous 'Shadows' Consultant' and Aisling, a lot of which is cleared up in the third chapter. Hardestadt has a brutally defined past of tragedy and pain that's left him traumatized under his easygoing nature.
  • Darker and Edgier: While right at home in The Never Mythos, Sangue is markedly darker than previous entries in The Kindness of Devils, veering a lot deeper into the Cosmic Horror Story themes that define The Never Mythos and featuring the onscreen, horrifying death of a child in the first time in the series' history.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Hardestadt, as per usual, but even Adam gets a dry quip here and there.
  • Death Glare: An old man warns Hardestadt of Adam's malocchio, the "evil eye" that apparently led a taxman to his doom. It turns out Adam has a connection to some unspeakable Eldritch Abomination called "the Eye" whom Coyte previously worshiped and Coyte accidentally provokes Adam into getting its attention back on him through Adam's own eyes.
  • Death of a Child: Julio, the adorable, twelve-year old Seer whom Eliza treats like a little brother, is taken by the thing in the patchwork cloak and has his brain burnt out from the inside-out.
  • Declaration of Protection: Hardestadt swears to give his all protecting the flock, and proves every bit as good as his oath.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Adam apparently snapped the neck of a taxman who got a little too passionate about trying to investigate his flock.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Hardestadt hates coffee...woe to him Adam asks to meet in a coffee house.
  • The Dreaded: Part of what seems to distinguish the enigmatic "Eye." While Coyte seems rather apathetic over the line of eldritch gods he's left behind them — a list which includes Nyarlathotep, Apophis, and what's implied to be Y'golonac of the Severn Valley mythos — the only thing that he truly seems to fear is the Eye. The realization Adam has, at the very least, its powers makes him genuinely panic.
  • Due to the Dead: The dead of Adam's flock are treated with respect and honor, Adam interring their ashes within urns to remember them forever. When Julio dies, Hardestadt treats his corpse with complete respect as well, even showing Eliza the Jewish prayers of mourning for him.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Coyte mentions Apophis and "the Defiler"—aka Y'golonac—as two of the previous dark gods he's served. This is before either officially debuted in The Kindness of Devils, the latter in A Conspiracy of Serpents the former in Only A Lonely Heart.
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • The apparent villain of the story is a horrific creature that can't be called human or anything close.
    • There is also The Writhe: a massive, wriggling white beast of the City of Never, with no start nor end, extending millions of miles, being filled with darkness and hunger that exists only to move, eat and produce insect-like creatures.
  • Enemy Mine: Nyarlathotep gives Hardestadt mild encouragement through his mind, finding the situation of him fighting Eliphas Coye hilariously whimsical and clearly preferring Hardestadt's victory to that of his venal, treacherous former disciple.
  • Evil Laugh: Nyarlathotep has a thousand faces. He uses every single one of them to laugh madly at Eliphas Coyte when his wayward former disciple has the temerity to beg him for mercy after abandoning him years ago.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Eliphas Coyte seems to genuinely not understand why Hardestadt would help innocent people, believing their lives to be "insignificant" compared to immortals like them.
  • The Faceless: The thing in the patchwork cloak has every inch of its body obscured, including its face — all except for one inhuman eye. There's good reason for it.
  • Fantastic Drug: The thing in the patchwork cloak is using a chemical released by the cranial nerves of Seers as a stimulant when it feeds.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Eliphas Coyte is sent back to the mysterious and monstrous Eye, which he dreads more than anything else, even torment at the hands of the other various abominations he left. It is strongly implied that eternal, agonizing torture is all that awaits Coyte there and he begs to no avail for Adam to let Stadt strike the coup de grace instead.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The thing in the patchwork cloak speaks in a very civil tone but that does nothing to mask his unfathomless cruelty.
  • Godhood Seeker: Eliphas Coyte seeks to merge the main world with that of the City of Never to ascend to godhood.
  • Healing Factor: Adam has one that exceeds even Hardestadt's own, taking a burst of acid that stymied Hardestadt's to the face and almost instantly regenerating from it.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Whatever the thing in the patchwork cloak wants, it involves Seers and Eliza. It turns out to want to claim the Remeditary for itself, even if half the Teraverse dies.
  • Historical Domain Character: Hardestadt was friendly with one Edward Thatch at Nassau. Better known to history as the pirate Blackbeard.
  • Historical Villain Downgrade: Played with. Edward Thatch is usually remembered quite a bit worse than he really was, but he's portrayed closer to he was in reality in Sangue (Blackbeard had an unusually humane record for a pirate, but cultivated a fearsome reputation to make people surrender easier).
  • Horror Hunger: The thing in the patchwork cloak has a real taste for brains...particularly 'special' ones, like Seers.
  • I Lied: The thing in the patchwork cloak promises not to hurt Julio if Eliza comes alone to the Li Fonti manor. It kills him for a high as soon as it returns to its lair.
  • Ironic Echo: Eliza's cheery "let's not kid ourselves" to Coyte echoes his words to her from Flor long ago.
  • It's All About Me: Eliphas Coyte in a nutshell. In order to gain knowledge for himself, he will go to any length, having served various dark lords and committed atrocities in their service just to get what he wants. It's to the point, that he's fully prepared to destroy various worlds and planes if it means raising himself to Godhood.
  • It Can Think: Hardestadt realizes the monsters after the Seers are not just animals. They show a firm grasp of tactics and strategy in their attack on the flock.
  • It's Personal: Why the thing in the cloak wants Eliza. Eliphas Coyte is not happy she turned down his 'generous' invitation in Flor and stuck a knife in his eye.
  • Jackass Genie: The dark being Masque will grant any wish, but there's always a price to it. One it will inform you of, but a dark price nonetheless that countless innocents could pay in your stead.
  • Kick the Dog: Delivering Julio's headless corpse to taunt Eliza was a really, really dick move on Coyte's part.
  • Kill the Cutie: Julio is the most adorable cheerful little boy around. Unfortunately, he's in an unforgiving Cosmic Horror Story and is taken and killed by the thing in the cloak.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: The gentle and pacifistic Eliza Cortly stops passively standing by in chapter 4. After Julio dies, and both Adam and Hardestadt are lost in the bowels of the Li Fonti manor, Eliza penetrates the manor herself and shows exactly why she's the oldest Seer alive by using a Remeditary trick to slip into an Eldritch Location completely undetected where Hardestadt and Adam both failed, taking Coyte genuinely off-guard.
    Eliza: (to a homunculus she has at knifepoint) Take me to him. Your master. No tricks. He and I have quite a bit to talk about, but I will not be doing it on my knees."
  • The Lost Lenore: Eliza's past with the Seer Aisling Valee is finally revealed here: Aisling, back in the 14th century, was one of the few Seers Eliza mentored that she had the fortune to meet personally, which eventually developed into a deep romance that lasted two decades. Unfortunately, this also attracted the attention of the Shadows' Consultant... and to avoid putting Aisling in any further danger and to put an end the multitudes of innocents being massacred by the Consultant wherever the two went, Eliza split from Aisling and went on the run. Centuries later, Eliza still pines for her and holds out hope that she's still alive.
  • Magic Eye: Adam supposedly possesses the 'Malocchio,' or the 'evil eye.' It's more than that; whatever Adam actually is, his eyes possess a connection to some manner of horrifying, ever-watching Eldritch Abomination whom even Coyte is terrified of. It turns out his eyes can even send someone to the Eye itself.
  • Master Swordsman: Hardestadt is probably the best swordsman alive, which makes Adam holding his own in a friendly duel, even if Hardestadt is fighting on human level, exceptionally impressive.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Adam seems to promote this as a means of protecting his flock. He makes no bones about the fact he's seeking to kill whomever murdered Peyton and remarks that's simply how he does things, urges the more pacifistic Eliza to slay the next City-beast she sees to save further innocent lives regardless if they operate under Blue-and-Orange Morality, and apparently murdered a taxman who got too close to the Sodality's secrets.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: A predator of the Old World is called the Mind-Gutter. Conjures some terrifying images.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Adam and Hardestadt go to freakin town on Coyte at the end, beating him savagely and ripping apart his mutated body.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Hardestadt and Eliza make references to having worked together in the past. Given their age, this is no surprise.
    • Francesca, one of the Venetian council references having seen Eliza at a ball with her husband Stefano decades past...and mentions the House of Cortly mysteriously vanished not long after.
  • Not Staying for Breakfast: Non-sexual variant, but Eliza is gone when Hardestadt awakens at the end, after she spends the night sleeping in his bed after he takes the floor. He finds a note from her, indicating clearly they'll meet again one day.
  • Oh, Crap!: The thing in the cloak genuinely has a moment of panic when Adam employs his 'Malocchio' upon it, reflecting upon the Eye it once served and how bad it would be to gain its attention anew.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Hardestadt and Adam believe in delivering harsh fates to evildoers. And it's implied to be difficult to get more evil than sending someone to the horrible Ending Eye, which is all that awaits Eliphas Coyte.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Both Hardestadt and Adam get one for the villain.
    • Hardestadt: "You chose to dance with this devil. Let's see if I still remember the steps."
    • Adam: "The Eye sees you. And it has never blinked." just before he sends Coyte's soul to a horrific fate.
  • Reality Warper: The thing in the patchwork cloak apparently has the ability to bend physical reality around it, which stops Eliza from interfering when it takes Julio.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Eliza, Adam and Hardestadt look relatively young. Adam is described as looking youthful and Hardestadt and Eliza in their mid-late twenties. All of them are clearly far older with Hardestadt's exact age being around ten thousand or so.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The vampire council of Venice seem to realize Hardestadt is right that there is a major problem in the city and sanction him to handle it via bloody execution.
  • Red Baron: Hardestadt remains the 'Saint of the Silver Blade.' By the end, Coyte realizes just who he truly is and recalls his other titles: The Venom of Aleviel and The Adversary of God.
  • Red Right Hand: The "thing in the patchwork cloak" has a missing eye. Just like what happened to Eliphas Coyte at the end of The Englishman.
  • The Reveal: The "thing in the patchwork cloak" is Eliphas Coyte of The Englishman.
  • Scaled Up: Continuing Scraggle's seeming fondness for serpentine characters, the thing in the cloak or Eliphas Coyte is quite snakelike in appearance.
  • Screwthe Rules Im Doing Whats Right: Hardestadt decides to forego Adam's instructions to rush headlong into danger to save Venice.
  • Secret Test of Character: Eliza asks Hardestadt to hold her shoulder until she tells him to stop, to showcase if he truly means it when he says her consent is important to him. He removes his hand the second she tells him to.
  • Sequel Hook: Adam makes a deal with Masque for power to destroy his horrific father, the 'Ending Eye,' with a terrible price implied.
  • Ship Tease: Hardestadt and Eliza have a very, very clear, if understated, growing attraction to one another. By the story's end, neither acts on their clearly growing attraction, but end by chastely and sweetly embracing one another after Hardestadt invites her to sleep at his home.
  • Spanner in the Works: Eliza Cortly, everybody. Despite her older and more physically deadly comrades being trapped by the monster known as the Writhe, Eliza manages to organize a way to cut off Eliphas Coyte's power and bring it down, despite all his plotting.
  • The Stoic: Adam, leader of the Sodality of the Aberrant, is described as having a face like a "stone mask." He hardly emotes openly at all, even towards the death of a member of his flock.
  • Sword Fight: Adam and Hardestadt engage in one so Adam can test Hardestadt's skill. Both actually end up enjoying the match.
  • Things Man Was Not Meant to Know:
    • The thing in the patchwork cloak's goal is to obtain endless knowledge from the void itself.
    • Adam is stunned by how Hardestadt freely deals in dark, forbidden knowledge "as easily as handing out flowers to visiting nobles" and wonders where he learned it. As readers of Kindness of Devils know, Hardestadt is a Devil born in Hell with an education in this.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Adam keeps the ashes of those who were once under his protection in respectful urns to mourn their loss.
  • Tranquil Fury: Adam may not show it openly, but Peyton's death pisses him off something fierce.
  • Ultimate Evil: Coyte has noticeably served many of these, but two of note: the first being Nyarlathotep, who has great claim to being the most dangerous and wicked being in all Creation who is presented as an Ultimate Evil in the lower scale story (while other entries in The Kindness of Devils have Nyarlathotep appear in person) as well as the much more enigmatic Eldritch Abomination only named the "Ending Eye" he served back in Flor hinted to be something horrible from the way its wayward "toy" Adam and Coyte reference it.
  • Undying Loyalty: The Flock is almost fanatically loyal and devoted to Adam.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Averted somewhat. Adam catches right on to Hardestadt's white-haired appearance, a sure sign he's more than he appears.
  • Villain Respect: The thing in the patchwork cloak seems to respect Hardestadt's skill with a blade. And Nyarlathotep just adores his dear old friend's abilities, considering all of this a whimsical game to observe.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Eliphas Coyte begs for the mercy of a quick death rather than what awaits him looking into Adam's eyes.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Coyte verges closer to this as his plans are waylaid, but by the end, he has devolved into sheer despair when Nyarlathotep comes in for a little chat...and then breaks down screaming and begging when he realizes what awaits him in Adam's eyes.
  • Welcome to the Caribbean, Mon!: It's revealed that in the early 1700s, Hardestadt and Eliza met in Nassau when Hardestadt was a pirate captain.
  • Wham Line: "Is your memory as refined as it is capable of being, or is the name 'Flor' foggy to you?”

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