Full Item Description
The Silver Mask of Ssungar is a large mask shaped like a shallow dish. It is made of some dark, lacquered wood, with it’s outer surface made of mirror-polished, hammered silver. Like most Qoruxi battle-masks (Qoruxi believe that it is sinful to look a slain enemy without covering one’s face; all Qoruxi warriors wear battle-masks or veils), it is a stylized representation of it’s original wearer, in this case, of Ssungar er-Shiai, the legendary Magpie of Jiddeh. It’s outside edge is tooled with tiny symbols in the Tepashi, the holy writing of the Qoruxi. The mask’s original strap is gone, and has been replaced with a soft, simple piece of leather.
At the Battle of Ghotesh River, Ssungar er-Shiai was slain by Palatine-Prince Gaidekki, hero of the Meixingu crusaders. In this, the bloodiest battle of the First Holy War, Gaidekki finally took the city of Jiddeh, the last Qoruxi city to fall before the Holy City of Meru.
When the Duke Jjataki arrived (Jjataki was Gaidekki’s second-in-command, who, rather than bringing his forces south through the desert like Gaidekki, sailed west to the Holy Land across the Central Sea), he found Gaidekki in the process of the now-infamous Ransom of Jiddeh: the Prince sold back the remaining captured soldiers of Ssungar’s army one by one until the people and temples of Jiddeh were bereft of any sort of wealth. Jjataki and Gaidekki were left with one last thing to ransom- the body of the Magpie of Jiddeh himself.
It is said that the Patriarch of Jiddeh himself, in his finest temple-robes, went before Prince Gaidekki and Duke Jjataki and pleaded them, in the name of God, to release unto the people the body of Ssungar, their hero and beloved leader.
A furious debate began between Jjataki and Gaidekki. It was the wish of the Palatine to keep the body and hang it from his standard to rot; it was the soft-hearted Duke’s wish, as always, to show mercy toward the Qoruxi infidels and release the body unto them.
Finally, it is said, Gaidekki drew forth his blade and held it over the neck of the Magpie’s corpse, and spoke his famous words:
“I weep not overmuch for the heathens.”
And with that, he struck off the head of Ssungar er-Shiai.
The body was indeed returned to the people of Jiddeh, and with it, Duke Jjataki’s portion of the treasure- Jiddehni folk to this day consider Duke Jjataki to be a saint and Gaidekki to be a fiend.
But Palatine-Prince Gaidekki sold them the head back, and kept only one thing- the Silver Mask of Ssungar.
Gaidekki was buried with the Mask in his tomb at the Temple Mount in the Holy City. However, during the Great Fire in 1156, robbers smashed open the tomb of the Palatine-Prince and stole the mask, among other treasures.
It was next seen in the hands of the Count Serislanas of Mehekkul, in the Empire of Tekne far to the north. It was kept in his possession for many years, and many Qoruxi made pilgrimages through the desert to Tekne to see it.
However, it did not stay for long- it was soon heard abroad in the streets of Haiban, the Thieve’s City, that Drishapsa, the master thief, had taken lifted the mask in the dead of night; though Drishapsa never admitted to the theft, he never denied it.
On his death-bed, Drishapsa admitted to his brother, Drishuge, that “the Mask is gone; the heathen thing I lost, but I do not miss it’s stare.”
For 80 years, the mask has not been seen.
A priceless treasure, and of great historical value, any Qoruxi would die to have his or her hands on the mask. The few Qoruxi rulers who remain in the Holy Land would give their crowns for it. Even Meixingu would pay to possess such a treasure.