Tuesday, 20 September 2016

The Mask Worn by the Night Sky

A crack only wide enough to squeeze through; on the other side is a space just big enough for one person to stand and turn around. Inside is a fragment of Sese-Mahuru-Bau's memory of his people's folklore: a dark and starry humanoid figure, as though composed of a man-sized shard of the night sky. It wears a mask made from bamboo, decorated with stark white clay paint, with a shock of a red beard and a high flat crest extending up from the forehead. The eyes are encircled in black. The night-sky figure itself is intangible and non-corporeal, except for a tingling sensation like pins and needles felt, for example, in a forefinger extended to try to touch it. It stands motionless and yet somehow communicates the sense that it is conscious and longs for the release that can only come with removal of the mask. The viewer must successfully save vs magic to resist the urge to take it off. Removing the mask causes the night-sky figure to instantly disappear.

As soon as the mask is put on by another person, it locks in place and cannot be removed. Over the course of the next hour, the wearer begins to feel the sensation of a painful tingling, growing stronger and stronger, throughout his body, as though from the inside out. His companions, at the same time, notice his flesh beginning to darken and fade, as he gradually transforms into a non-corporeal fragment of the dark firmament.

Once the transformation is complete the wearer is non-corporeal (except for the mask) and cannot be harmed or touched; he can also reach through physical objects without difficulty. He exists in the world of the night time, and can see in the darkness as though it is light, but is blind in the bright light of the day. If the mask is removed he ceases to exist. Eventually that is what he will long for.

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