Notable NPCs: Divo Zucco

Born and raised in the “City of Islands” of San Marco, one of the most prosperous of all the city-states of Forkanza, Divo Zucco comes from a proud and noble family. The Zucco clan was arguably one of the most powerful of the wealthy merchant houses in San Marco during waning years of the independent city-states that only recently ended with the creation of the Fourth Imperium and the unification of the Forkanzan peninsula. While San Marco was considered independent it still fell under the influence of the ancient noble house of Andolinni, one of three such houses to still exist and hold sway beyond the crumbling ruins of the imperium domain’s capital of Gothartus. When unification came it was largely driven by the cooperation of the Andolinni family and their allies in conjunction with the Patriarch of the Holy Imperium Church. In San Marco this meant that the people there would benefit greatly from throwing their whole support behind the venture, and this is precisely what they did when they were first given the chance.

Divo was his parent’s fourth of eight children, and the youngest son to survive infancy. As is typical of wealthy Forkanzan families the duties of the children are forged early and as they grow and mature, they are expected to continue in these roles regardless of what they might want for themselves. The firstborn son would inherit the family business and take over as patriarch when their father died, controlling all of the wealth and power that the Zucco name had accumulated over the centuries. The next son in line would be their right-hand man as it were, doing much of the day-to-day work making sure that everything was going according to the plan the patriarch had laid out. The third son, however, would either become a military man or to join the clergy in some capacity, whichever the patriarch decided would be the most prudent. The Zucco family had to cover all of its bases, after all, and the Church was a potential ally that could not afford to be slighted. Divo was therefore promised to the Church and from an early age sent off to begin his formal training as a priest.

While attending the seminary in San Marco young Divo also spent a great deal of time on the busy waterfront where his family’s merchant fleet was based. While only permitted on short voyages of a few days to better accommodate his formal schooling schedule it was enough to give Divo a sense of awe for the power of the ocean and the strength and adventurous spirit needed to tackle it successfully. This in turn fueled his own faith and devotion to his assigned role as an initiate clergyman as he pondered the power of a god to create and control such an amazing thing as the sea and the weather.

With his fearlessness of nautical travel, Divo was quickly put on the fast-track to advancement within the Church as he was one of the rare few who would not object to being sent aboard ocean-going vessels. This meant he was one of the youngest initiates to be given the rank of “Envoy” and given the duties of extensive travel and empowered to act on the bishop’s behalf in minor matters of diplomacy. Not all of these trips were necessarily long sailing voyages as much of what passes as sea travel around Forkanza is still largely oar-driven with shallow draft galleys doing the bulk of the duties. But there were occasions when the Church needed documents taken abroad or to have a representative on hand for foreign events that were deemed vital to the interests of the Holy See. In these cases, it was inevitably Divo Zucco, known to most as simply Brother Divo, that would be dispatched aboard whatever vessels were being utilized.

In the course of one of these foreign visitations Brother Divo had the unfortunate occasion of being shipwrecked among the rocky islands of the Forzarrean Sea. Many of the crew were lost to a tremendous storm and the unforgiving onslaught of the elements. In the rage of the storm and chaos of the wreckage Divo Zucco had the most terrifying encounter of his life in the form of a Greater Sea Hag whose name was Myrtle Fangscale. Relying on his faith and the strength of his own convictions Divo was able to avoid the fate of others he had been sailing with and wasn’t devoured by the wrathful monster. On the contrary, Divo found himself in an even more sinister quandary. Myrtle Fangscale took a liking to the bold and adventurous priest, and introduced him to her beloved daughter, Tonya. Biding his time awaiting rescue or a chance to escape, Divo indulged the sea hags and made himself as sociable as he could manage.

Fate again intervened in the life of Divo Zucco and despite his intentions not to fall prey to the manipulative sea hags he found himself falling in love with Tonya. Promising her that he would take her with him when he left, Tonya admitted that she had fallen for the dashing priest and would aid in his escape from the island. After several weeks the two oddly matched lovers made their move, and thanks to their combined magical powers they were able to make their way to the mainland.

If one would expect his family eager and delighted to find their missing loved one alive and well then one would have been mistaken, for this was not the welcome return anyone in the Zucco family had been anticipating. Any joy that might have been had at his not being lost at sea was soon overridden by the announcement that Divo Zucco made in which he had decided to cast away his life as a priest and instead marry a woman that no family of any means or good reputation could possibly have approved of. Cast out of the Church and stripped of his position and authority, Divo was now a source of staggering embarrassment to his father and most everyone else in his clan. After some near violent clashes with his brothers and their supporters in San Marco, Divo and his new bride decided to set their own course. Buying passage aboard one of his family’s ships, a sohar called Ardeth Bey that was destined for a faraway foreign port, and Divo and Tonya began to plot their future. Unsure of what he was going to do and how best to utilize his skills, Divo left the matter in the hands of God.

The answer that God had came in the form of another terrible storm, one that threatened to sink the Ardeth Bey and end the hopes and dreams of all aboard. Drawing upon his faith and the unwavering skill of his nautical upbringing Divo took command of the situation and not only saved the Ardeth Bey but also found a crew that was determined to continue following his orders even after the crisis had abated. A mutiny ensued and the former captain and his first mate were murdered by the crew who then proclaimed Zucco as their leader. Tonya egged them on to the point that they would have done anything to further their reckless ways and just as quickly as that Captain Zucco began his new life as a pirate. The name of the ship was changed to The Sea Hag and a new navigational course was established. The cargo was sold, and the ship and its crew set out to find more cargo that they could pass off as their own for easy profit.

For the next several years this was to be the way things were for Captain Zucco. Occasional raids on merchant vessels interspersed with legitimate freight voyages to keep his reputation as an “above-board” trader intact. Tonya was of course eager for more violent and malicious activity, but Divo stuck to his core principles as often as he could to maintain a balance. Myrtle Fangscale was an ever-present threat to the happiness of the sea captain and his wife and through the years her moods and attitudes changed like the tides of the ocean. Things got significantly better, however, when Tonya gave birth to a daughter that they named Regine, and better still when she had another daughter less than two years later that they named Emilene. Fortunately for Captain Zucco and his growing family his mother-in-law had bigger fish to fry as she dealt with monsters even more fearsome than herself. Tonya and her daughters returned to the island that Myrtle called home, and there the sea hags did what sea hags do and Divo would drop by to stash his ill-gotten treasure there.

If this seems like not enough information, it is because I still have those two players fishing for useful details. This post is going to take a long time to flesh out.