Harpsichord Oratorio is a side character in the audio drama Confessions of a Wasteland Pony.
Her story is told by Rose Petal in the third episode, The Duchess Horror.
She, along with her older sister and two older brothers, lived in the ancient family home, Maricello Manor. The manor was large enough to house several dozen members of their extended family, but it was ultimately the "home" of the six of them.
Like the rest of the Oratorios, Harpsichord descended from the earth ponies and pegasi who fled Manechester and The Foggy Isles after centuries of discrimination by the unicorn majority. However, while a familiar part of their history, she did not dwell on it as intensely as her father. Manechester was a far distant connection she mostly ignored. She focused on enjoying her life for what it was, especially considering how The Great War began when she reached adulthood.
While not festering in hatred like him, Harpsichord was the one to inherit her father's forceful personality. Her siblings took more after their soft-spoken mother, but Harpsichord could match words with her father whenever need be. She was the only one able to calm him down when his fiery rants got out of control.
This force of will was more of a personality trait than a character flaw, and her interactions with the rest of her family were much more normal, although she was markedly boisterous. She especially loved helping her mother and sister tend to the family vineyard and maintain the wine cellar. She would also help her eldest and older brothers with construction and photography respectively.
She also kept in good contact with her distant cousin Octavia (whom she still called by her musical nickname, Amoria). When they were young, the two of them would practice their instruments together, Octavia on her cello and Harpsichord on her namesake.
Near the end of The Great War, it was mainly Harpsichord keeping the family together when Crescendo descended further and further into his madness. Unfortunately, she was not aware of the glyph magics that her father was dabbling in, and hence was not able to try to stop him before it was too late.
When they were killed by the explosion at their family's Fall Festival, Harpsichord was merged with her father and all the others into The Horror of Maricello.
She was trapped in a dreamlike state within the poltergeist, replaying the events of that last family gathering as walking phantoms. Harpsichord would spend over a century and a half unaware of the end of The Great War, which occurred not long after the incident. It wouldn't be until the arrival of the first wastelanders that awareness began to return to her.
Crescendo, similarly stirred by their arrival, directed the rest of the family to kill the travelers. They successfully consumed the buck, melting the flesh from his bones while his girlfriend escaped.
Made conscious of what had become of them, Crescendo had all of their bones moved into the mansion's generator room. He did this mostly to quiet the other spirits trapped within, who were unsettled by the sight of their own skeletons lying in dust on the floor of the wine cellar. Harpsichord could only watch helplessly as her family tried returning to their entranced routine, while mourning what had happened to them all.
This would go on for 5 years until Rose Petal's arrival, where Harpsichord was able to muster enough of her own will to overpower her father, and take control of the poltergeist. With her father pushed deeper into the recesses of the entity, Harpsichord does what she can to make the afterlife comfortable for the other souls trapped within.
- "Oh Amoria, it was so nice to hear from you. Truth be told, it is probably better that you are not here. I didn’t want to damper your spirits, because I do wish more than anything that you were here… But I’ve been dreading this year’s Fall Festival. My father has not been well lately… I expect to have to calm him down off of one of his tirades at the big dinner. Heaven knows no one else will say a word. But it’s more than just his usual temper… I think the war has been upsetting him more than any of us anticipated, and we’ve been dealing with the consequences… This last year has been a series of fights and bad situations as he’s been having his “big surprise” prepared for everyone to see…" - Harpsichord (in a message to Octavia)
- "Above the headboard was a family portrait showing six earth ponies. The four at the bottom were the children: two sons and two daughters. They were dressed in their finest, as though they were off to attend a wedding or grand gala. The youngest daughter to the bottom right was Harpsichord. She was a lovely young mare in her late 20’s. She had an orange mane and tail with a hazel coat, all brought together with green, almond-shaped eyes." - Duchess Rose Petal
- "Before me was a single glowing purple body… a lavender envelope of energy holding the mysterious cloud inside… Then, green sparks started manifesting around it. The bolts of energy circled the body, giving it a smaller frame and finer details to the neck and face… The arcs eventually settled into two balls of glowing green energy set inside of almond shaped eyes…" - Duchess Rose Petal (witnessing Harpsichord take control of The Horror)
Behind The Scenes
- The Octavia/Amoria subplot of the story was originally developed by SkyBolt to open up the possibility of more orchestral releases similar to the accompanying pipe organ piece. Because Stable-Tec did not have many Big Band composers, SkyBolt planned to have an Octavia music album created similar to the Agatha violin station in Fallout 3. This would eventually happen one year later, when James Kelly composed "Verismo" and it was released alongside episode 4, The Engineer. The spectral art created for Verismo was a reference to the Duchess Horror story that incepted it.
- "Amoria (Oratorio)" as a name is one of the lasting remnants of Stable-Tec's character name change policy. While other character names intended for the animated series were created by the writing team, "Amoria" was chosen by SkyBolt as the best possible option since "Octavia" could not be used. Her significance in the story was too great for the name to simply be spoken around like Babs Seed in The Ghoul Doctor.
- Harpsichord, like the rest of the setting of the story, was meant to have an Antebellum South thematic feel. As such, Harpsichord is described as a proper Southern Belle by Duchess Rose Petal.