Fete of Decay Entry: The Face of a Monster
Little Sister Yazœvâ, would you like to hear a story? Sœ said that I should tell a story to you, befitting of the Fete of Decay. Now then, are you ready, Mumi? Let Big Sister Shåjo tell you a tale.
Do you know why we wear these masks? Ones so fragile and shiny, yet containing an air of mystery about them? They say that these masks hold the spirits of monsters and animals, creatures that we are protected from by the guardians of our village, always vigilant for the time that they strike. While we are protected, however, their spirits remain and are engulfed within these well-crafted masks, howling and screaming for an escape. Do not fear, Mumi, for they are well contained…until you break them. For you see, the breaking or cracking of the mask has the spirit leak out and possess the wearer, turning them worse than Tarnished, or so they say.
There is one such story where a particularly vile monster was unleashed upon the world. The cloki, Seid, had crafted many a mask during his lifetime, whether it be with the help of his tow, hostl and sœ alike, or by himself. His masks were always so, so beautiful, the most beautiful of all masks in existence at the time. And his craft only made them even more beautiful as time went on, his two wings wrapping them in an embrace before releasing them to the world. Clokies would flock to obtain his masks, but there was one special mask he kept for himself.
He met the creature one day, splotched with black and tall in stature, a creature by the likes which he had never seen. Beautiful, terrifying, this monster had six large claws on each hand with black sclera and a drooling red mouth, mane flowing white that was stained with dried blood. Seid was fascinated by the creature, watched as it tore apart a young tree into shreds while howling at the sun. Eventually, it collapsed, drooling red as its eyes soon dulled and its body shuddered one last time before moving no more. He knew he had to make a mask to house the creature’s spirit, and so he worked day and night for the mask to be recreated. When it was finished, he kept it hidden, only wearing it on the darkest of nights when no one would see him. For the black splotches on his mask that he recreated can only be the sign of a žuä, a Tarnished, and such a thing would enrage every cloki that would ever lay eyes on it.
On a moonless night, the darkest of nights, Seid was out for a leisurely stroll while wearing his mask, during the Fete of Decay, and was thinking nothing of the fact that he could barely see in front of him. He should have stayed home, for in the dark, there was a small pebble that he missed and he tripped upon it, stumbling and hitting his mask on a tree. At that moment, they say, the spirit of the monster was released and he instantly possessed. His eyes turned red with madness and soon he snuck back to the village, pieces of broken porcelain mask on his face. Everyone knew what happened that day, that the cloki who was once so pure of heart now slaughtered his entire village, men, women, and children alike. No one survived, save for his youngest brother, who had escaped and lived to tell the tale, a tale of horror and murder. And cannibalism, apparently, for the last thing that little älälkäfrä saw was Seid tearing out his parents’ throats with his teeth and feasting on their flesh.
The älälkäfrä told everyone he came across of the horrific events that occurred and many a cloki gathered to hunt this now Tarnished being. Many a village and town were ransacked by the cloki, turning the Fete of Decay into a time of mourning. But only for three days. On the third day, search parties had finally caught up to him, the cloki’s body having become splotched with black with wings ripped up and horn broken. He was a sight to behold and on his face were shards of the mask he had worn, the one that possessed him to do evil. And he fought like a muthâolâ, using his magic and his teeth to shred the flutters that gathered to exterminate him. No one had ever seen anything like it, his fighting style, and clokies found themselves with ripped wings and broken horns as they fought the madman. In the end, magic was used to bind his spirit to the mask shards and his soul was sucked out of his body, left to wither away in the sun.
The shards on his face were removed and scattered across Âthâw, guarded so that the shards will never again reunite and unleash the terror Seid had created. They say that those guarding the mask shards can hear his voice, howling like a beast as he rages against his bonds, forever seeking to destroy and kill all those in his path. And they say, that should the pieces ever come together again, recreating the mask that he oh so loved, both he and the monster will be freed and will drown Âthâw in blood.
What do you think, Yazœvâ? Did you like the story? …Ah, you’re trembling. Oh? You are not afraid? Just excited? Are you sure it’s not fear, Mumi? Hahaha! I kid. Though, I do wonder…did he truly became Tarnished or was he just possessed? And if only possessed, then does a small part of him wail with grief over the many lives he slaughtered? I don’t know…but I do wonder. Hm, maybe I shouldn’t have told that story, it’s almost bedtime. Do you want me to sleep with you tonight? I know Sœ says that we’re starting to become too old for sleeping together, but perhaps since you’re so scared- Haha, I know. But I don’t want to leave you jumping in the night. So, shall we sleep together this time? Alright, alright, scoot a little, Mumi. I love you. Goodnight, Mumi.
Field of Frost
Hoooooooly I made it in time. OTL This was so last minute. Hoooo boy. But I'm pretty happy with this piece! I wanted Shåjo to be the storyteller because she would tell her little sister stories often, before she lost her voice. This story was told when they were beginning to hit puberty, and Yazœvâ always loves listening to her stories. I imagine that though Shåjo can't speak anymore out of trauma, she still tells stories by writing them down to her sister. But only to her sister, she's embarrassed about her writing. XD
Anyway, this tale is most likely fictional, I'm not sure if anything like this could happen, lol. Still, it does raise questions about the masks the clokies wear, I wonder if they do have any significance and if they do hold spirits? Hm... Anyway, hope you enjoy!