Carpi is an important city north of the Estense territory of Modena. Originally a possession of the Abbey of Nonantola, it passed into the hands of House Canossa and finally, briefly, to the dark-hearted sanguinary House Bonacolsi. Carpi was lost in the hands of House Pio, powerful Ghibellines, several years ago. The Pios made Carpi their ancestral home and have since consolidated their power over other surrounding lands, including Soliera, Novi, Campogalliano, and San Prospero, the latter two through the minor lineages of House Roberti and House Castelvetri. The Pio Castle is served by a host of Magyar slaves who are used as servants, denuded and branded on the forehead with the red bands of the Pio coat of arms. Magyar children who are born in the court are killed at birth and women placed in the service of the court where they are kept illiterate. Although they are not allowed to speak Hungarian (actually, not allowed to speak at all), prayer groups dedicated to the Dark One have been established among the women and girls. They meet at night in the servants’ halls to plot revenge for the death of their children. The Castle of Pio is haunted by a mysterious ethereal figure known only as the White Lady, who seems to attend the meetings of the enslaved women, In reality, the White Lady is an ancient ally of Matilda of Canossa and maintains the dimensional portal that connects all the ancient lands of the abbey with the ruins of Canossa Castle where Matilda resides and plots in silent undeath. The Lady uses an ancient artifact to siphon off the energies of slain infants to power the Canossian Portal. The castle contains the ancient Bonacolsi Tower and is a land of air and water, containing a splendid nymphaeum and a birdhouse that the noblewomen of the Pio use as a place of rest and contemplation. The patriarch of the Pio is currently Alberto III Pio, grandson of Pico della Mirandola; he is young and energic, married to an Orsini by whom he had three children: two daughters and a stillborn son, whose miscarriage was caused by the White Lady. She kept the spirit of Alberto III’s son intact for matters that are unclear today. Albert III’s father, Lionel I had been a condottiere in the service of House Colleoni of Piedmont against House Medici. The Sienese artist, architect and war expert Baldassarre Peruzzi lived in the castle as court wizard, occultist, alchemist and sage, a direct adviser to Albert III. Budrione
In an area traversed by deep irrigation canals, stands on an embankment a massive lookout tower of recent construction. Originally burned by
Passerino Bonacolsi (ce hm fighter 18), the castle of Budrione is directly administered by House Pio. Gargallo, land of House Stoffi (Pio)
Gargallo is another terracotta lookout tower, with a base of about eight meters, in the hands of
House Stoffi loyal to the Pio, who maintain a lookout garrison there as protection from the nearby House Este di San Martino, a cadet branch of the Este.