Co-leader of the Carnival of Shadows
|Carnival of Shadows
|About 400 years old
|Uriel di Inferno (in Venice)
Parents (Presumably dead by now)
Vanessa DeVore (distant cousin)
Heroes can fight her:
Giovanna Scaldi was a young peasant girl, born to a farming family in Padua, a small Venetian village. Like many pretty, clever girls, Giovanna had her world wrapped around her little finger – but at the age of 15, Giovanna learned she was special.
All through her childhood, Giovanna's family, friends, and neighbors catered to her whims. She grew up to be a spoiled, bratty young woman who no one had ever been able to say no to – until the year of a bad harvest, when soldiers came to claim unpaid taxes. When they threatened her father, Giovanna rushed to his side and shouted at them to go away and leave them alone. To everyone's surprise, the soldiers did.
The family's relief at the sudden turn in fortune turned to fear several days later, when a second patrol of soldiers came to the village, this time with the intent of burning out a witch. They set fire to the farmhouse in the middle of the night, and the family barely escaped the smoke and flames. Giovanna screamed at the soldiers to burn each other, not their house – and the family watched in shock as they followed her orders to the letter, burning each other to death. Suddenly exhausted, Giovanna collapsed.
When she recovered, Giovanna’s eyes were finally truly open. From birth, she had been blessed with powerful psychic abilities. She had always been able to subconsciously influence the minds of those around her, but she now discovered she could consciously direct a subject's thoughts and actions with a careful force of will.
Giovanna was a girl with tremendous insight and a voracious appetite for personal satisfaction. There was only one place for her: Venice.
The young “Duchess” who arrived in Venice six months later was, outwardly, quite a different creature than the 15 year old girl who fled the burning farm. She threw herself into the whirl of social life in La Serinissima, and easily ingratiated herself into the highest levels of Venetian society. For a time, Giovanna lived happily as a storybook princess, surrounded by beautiful people and potential suitors, and enjoying the finest things in life. But she grew bored, and looked for something more to fulfill her insatiable appetite.
A city can hold few secrets from a restless girl with a natural power of persuasion, and soon a secret underworld of Venice filled with rare luxuries, forbidden pleasures, and occult mysteries was open to her. Giovanna fell for a mystic who called himself Uriel di Inferno, and revealed her abilities. He helped her explore the extent of her powers, and showed her how to increase their limits. Together they stormed Venice, and soon their sinful soirees spilled out into public plazas and even the Doge’s palace – the city kowtowed before her, and threw itself into a debauched frenzy which only served to increase her power.
Excess cannot burn forever unchecked, and soon stories of these legendary Bacchanalia reached Rome. A secret investigator of the Inquisition was dispatched to learn the truth about this so-called Duchess Giovanna Scaldi, and her rumored affair with the Devil.
Brother Abelard Vernoux was, like Giovanna, born special. Today we would call them mutants, but at that time, Brother Abelard believed he was blessed by God. He had the ability to read emotions and absorb the qualities of people, animals, and even objects around him. When he arrived, he found a month-long party in full swing. The lustful affair stretched out across all of the Piazza San Marco, and even into the Cathedral itself. As he traveled swiftly through the revelry, one image burned brightly in everyone’s mind: the face of Giovanna Scaldi.
He found the Duchess inside the Doge’s palace, holding court over a shameful display of the nobility. The confrontation was a surprise to both of them, never before having faced an equal in power. But the monk’s years of battle in the Thirty Years War served him well, and after an epic battle he outmaneuvered Giovanna, forcing her to run.
Exhausted and terrified, Giovanna’s control of the city was broken. The leaders, contrite and repentant, helped Brother Abelard scour the city to find her. It was Uriel who came up with a desperate plan. Years ago he had discovered a binding ritual that would prepare an object to host a soul. Traditionally, this was used to command devils and spirits, but he believed it could work for Giovanna, allowing her to hide her essence from the monk. Uriel would flee the city and find a suitable woman to act as host for Giovanna, far away from Brother Abelard’s reach. Uriel prepared a porcelain mask with grave rituals. When it was ready, Giovanna projected her entire being into the mask. Her body died, and the world went dark.
Unfortunately for Giovanna, Uriel’s plan never came to fruition. He was apprehended while attempting to flee the city. It would be a long, long time before light would again enter Giovanna’s world.
(Please read Vanessa DeVore's profile to learn more about the current whereabouts of Giovanna Scaldi)
All of the text used in this article comes from the City of Heroes Official Site
Though records say Giovanna Scaldi died in 17th century Venice, it appears she is alive and well - in Vanessa DeVore's mind. Her soul has survived the centuries locked away in a porcelain mask, and it is her great psychic power that truly drives the Carnival of Shadows.
During the mission Take the mental monocle back to Sister Psyche:
Before combat:will regret this deeply.
- Giovanna Scaldi's Carnival of Shadows profile for a list of her powers