The witch Clarionne was never considered pretty, yet she craved the love of the prettiest men. When she fell for the Paladin Prince of Silmar he sent her away, he did not want to marry an old crone that dabbled in what he perceived as the dark arts. Heartbroken she swore that he would regret that decision and she set about to create a mask that would not only hide her unremarkable features, but also lend her an appearance of absolute beauty and charm.
After several months of research, collecting rare ingredients and carefully sewing the mask, she put it on and looked in the mirror. Her heart nearly stopped for what she saw was a thing of unearthly beauty. Dazzled she went to the Prince in his city, often stopping to admire her new self in the mirror.
When she finally arrived, old men died of heart failure, women gaped and men fell to their knees in admiration. She soon had a huge following of lovesick men and jealous women, and in the streets they chanted and sang. The crowd cheered and followed her around, and thus she paraded ceremoniously through the city, her pace slowed by the crying men begging for a smile and a glance.
The Great Council of the Prince heard rumours of a lady that held the entire city in her hands. Afraid of a coup and fearing this was the workings of a demon, the Prince rode out to capture her and burn her at the stake. For such is the belief of the Paladins; evil will always try to conquer the weak hearts of humanity through seduction. As he rode up to her, he fell in love and his male instincts battled with his Paladin sense of honour and duty. Surely such a lovely creature could not harbour any evil? Steeling himself and subduing his throbbing heart, he quickly pulled a sack over her head and ordered her burnt at the stake.
How the men wept and shouted, how the womenfolk cheered and how Clarionne descended into the darkness of despair. The journey to the stake was a long one, the Paladin Prince in the lead, crying and praying for guidance. Clarionne was escorted by soldiers who had not had a chance to gaze upon her and thus were immune to her charms. Their groping hands disgracing and dishonouring every inch of her body, their foul words only surpassed by even fouler deeds.
She welcomed the release of being tied to the stake then, and as the flames consumed her with rapacious desire, the sack over her head caught fire, and for just a few painful heartbeats she gazed upon the gathered crowd, the cheering women and the soldiers making obscene gestures and laughing, laughing at her demise. The Prince had turned his back, she could not see him sobbing.
Then a gust of wind carried the mask away, scarce seconds later she fully ignited and her horrible death cry brought the Prince to his knees, questioning his God.
The mask is made of white silk which is burnt on the edges. It will give the wearer another appearance based vaguely upon his natural appearance, but far prettier. The mask has been damaged and the wearer will view the world as Clarionne did before she died; everything will look terribly ugly and the persons you love the most will appear threatening. The wearer might fall in love with himself and many others certainly will.
The Mask has two different kinds of effect; those weaved into the fabric by Clarionne, and those which her final hours of horror infused into the fabric. The original effect will instantly occur; while the secondary effect will subtly and slowly be imprinted upon the wearers perception of reality. The wearer will in effect have his identity manipulated by the final emotions of Clarionne. The psychological effects will only slowly go away with the removal of the mask.
-At first there will be little difference in how people appear, but as the influence of the mask grows, the dubious intentions and horrible appearance of others will multiply in intensity. At last the only thing of beauty the wearer ever will see can be found in the reflections of the mirror.
-The wearer will constantly smell something akin to burning human flesh and hair, in the beginning the smell will be barely noticeable, but with prolonged usage the smell will intensify.
-The wearer will occasionally fall victim to seizures full of intense searing pain. These seizures will seldom occur in the early stages of usage, but rather occur more often as time goes by.
-The wearer will appear unearthly beautiful, like the arch-angels and the prettiest of Gods. This effect is the original one and the only one that will instantly occur.
-The wearer will get extremely favourable reactions from the opposite sex. Members of the same sex will also react favourably unless given reason to become jealous. But people will have extreme difficulty to discern the person beneath the good looks and the wearer will in effect become reduced to an object of desire.
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? Responses (19)-20
I noticed that someone had voted 5 on this here item and just wanted to tell the Captain that I do not vote for my own, nor those I have collaborated in making
Well, I think it wouldn't be of much help anyway. ;)
You've been very prolific, haven't you, AG? Awesome item, this, and I like the backstory. Kinda' sad.
Oh, and about the voting for your own item- I generally only suspect that in cases where a vote of 5 would be very out-of-place, unlike this item.
Updated: Edited to fit the Strolen's Citadel v2.0 requirements
I could've sworn I had voted on this item...A good one nonetheless, though I doubt I'd be able to adapt it.
Why I missed this is beyond me but I can only suppose it was due to it being an old submission.
A classic tale of love ignored with a very huge twist... I like it. Very shakespearian.
I wish I had this item.
what Mourngrymn said!
Dang, I had forgotten this item existed. 0_o
I wish I was as enthusiastic nowadays as I was back then. Oh well.
*casts Enlarge Enthusiasm on AG*
See, wasn't that hard. Now take that enthusiasm and fix the broken characters here. :)
Updated: Enthralled by the mighty enchantments of manfred, I was compelled to fix some broken characters
Yay! Another sub cleaned, now it's only hundreds to do. *dances around*
Somehow, it seems to me that only the beauty effect and the perception twisting are necessary for this item to function - the stench and especially pain it causes are somewhat superfluous; I'd actually omit the pain bit, as it can ruin an adventure revolving around the mask.
Both effects are minimally present on the start and become more serious with time, so that wouldn't be bad. The hint of smell of 'something burned', imperceptibly increasing, sounds appropriate to me.
As for the pain, you can leave it out - or you could make the wearer actually see the last moments of the witch, when it would be logical. (Or slowly turn the occasional seizures into visions, etc.)
"Sigh". Once more I behold a post that I have read and enjoyed several times before but somehow managed to not vote on. Error fixed!
Looking forward to the day a new submission appears AG! (None of us ever really retire)
I'm like Mike. Fixing.
A well written piece. I especially like the coherence of this item's magical effects to the backstory.
Its odd - I've read this excellent sub before but failed to vote. Rectified!