Maricello Manor is a location in the audio drama series Confessions of a Wasteland Pony.
It is the main setting of the third episode, The Duchess Horror.
History & The Oratorio Family
Maricello Manor is a large mansion estate south of Manehattan. The estate as a whole encompasses thousands of acres of swamps and marshlands. Much of the estate was cultivated for crops after the construction of the mansion. Its sizable vineyard became a prized regional export.
The mansion was constructed by the Oratorio family, one of the largest groups which left Manechester after centuries of unicorn discrimination. The Oratorios were mainly earth ponies, but had no issue with any unicorns or pegasi born among them. The head of the family at the time purchased the marshes at an affordable price, knowing they had the skills to tame the land. With their new start on the Equestrian mainland, he wished for it to be a great meeting place that the family could converge at once a year. He wished to essentially re-establish the old Manechester "Unification Day" tradition but as a family Fall Festival.
While capable as farmers, the Oratorios were most gifted with music and wished to reflect that in the construction of the manor. Those among the family with instrument building and engineering talents constructed a great pipe organ at the heart of the manor, so music would be an ever-present centerpiece of the home. The atrium in front of the organ would be used as a performing stage for family concerts.
Many other rooms in the manor were dedicated to storing or practicing instruments. The walls were covered in pictures or portraits showing past family members. Their instruments and other personal effects hung with a candle beside the frames. The manor was as much a museum to the Oratorio family as a place to live.
During The Great War, Crescendo Oratorio was the patriarch of the family. His hatred for their old unicorn family members governed many of his decisions when Stable-Tec terminals became commonplace. He refused to allow Manechester runic magic in the manor, and so sought out an alternative. He discovered that EAST Corp terminals are build around a different kind of magical glyphs, which piqued his interest in such magics. After studying many dark symbol magics from many different races, he began covering the walls of Maricello in what he believed to be protection spells. He would hide the glyphs behind the family portraits.
The dark magics were also corrupting his already unbalanced mind. He became so paranoid of the impending megaspell apocalypse that he commissioned the construction of a "Stable" beneath the mansion by non-Stable-Tec related companies.
Unfortunately, death would come several weeks before The Last Day. The "Stable" being built below Maricello accidentally broke through the wall of an underground train line passing through the region. A Ministry of Arcane Sciences train, carrying a mysterious substance, crashed through the wall of the "Stable". The mysterious lavender liquid it was carrying exploded with the trains engine and filled Maricello with a caustic smoke. The magics in the mysterious substance combined with the glyphs and enchantments covering the mansion. As the flesh melted from their bones, the souls of the Oratorios were fused into a horrific poltergeist, cursed to live within the walls of the manor for all eternity.
After being discovered by Duchess Rose Petal , Harpsichord Oratorio became the dominant will in The Horror that now possessed the mansion. Under her spirit, the souls of her family rest a bit easier, where they remain to this day.
- "I reached the main gates of the manor to find tall black iron bars lining the entire perimeter. The property looked it’s age, but was luckily untouched by any of the direct explosions of the bombs. Maricello was far from the nearest big city, and fairly secluded, tucked away where it was. The iron bars reflected 200 years of neglect." - Duchess Rose Petal (first seeing the mansion)
- "Using the butt of my rifle I pounded on the glass trying to break it. I struck it several times, but it failed to even crack. Panicking, I quickly inscribed an explosion spell on the glass… the same one I had used to get through the front gate. With a spark, the runes glowed bright orange and erupted. The force knocked me backwards into one of the couches. Looking up, I watched as the glass expanded outwards in a million tiny shards. But instead of toppling to the ground below, they stayed connected together by arcing streaks of purple energy. As soon as my spell had dissipated, the shards were pulled back into place as quickly as they were dislodged. The window had completely resealed, this time looking like the stained glass window of an ancient cathedral." - Duchess Rose Petal (describing how the enchantments protected the mansion)
Behind The Scenes
- Maricello Manor as well as many themes in the story were heavily inspired by the Point Lookout plotlines from Fallout 3.
- "Maricello" as a name comes from the "Monticello" estate built by United States founding father Thomas Jefferson. While not a direct copy of Monticello, the Maricello art was designed to match the architectural style of "North American Palladianism" famous for Neo-Classical marble features adorning a structure made of red brick.
- The pipe organ as a story feature was inspired by The Phantom of the Opera, as well as a radioplay short story SkyBolt heard as a kid (which he still can't find the name of) where a dead body is hidden in a pipe organ and possesses it.
- To accompany the release of The Duchess Horror, pieces of the story were dramatized and the pipe organ can be heard in a musical special called The Horror of Maricello.