Reign of Winter

Jack on Masks

Jack tells a story about Masks (an old, unshared story)

Masks / Identity
“There was a city some of us would visit in Taldor, yearly for a number of springs. They would have a festival in spring, celebrating the end of winter. It was a time of celebration, as flowers bloomed, the airs warmed, jackets came off, and animals emerged from their dens. The was a big festival in town, and we would help with the celebrations. Standard stuff, dancing, food, wine, speeches of the changing of the seasons, of the new beginning of the year. Beyond that, though, there was a group that held a more private celebration in the manor. A few of us, men and women from the caravan, were invited. When we arrived, we were sent, one by one into a room, and required to select and don a mask for the evening, and given non-descript robes. Of course, without an explicit request to keep the robe on.”

Jack grins, seeming to reminisce.

“Everyone at the party was wearing different masks and the same non-descript robes. The evening got, interesting, to say the least. I witnessed things that surprised me, the openness in how people acted, the way they spoke, the things they did, so open and uninhibited. I could tell by their hands, their arms, their feet and backs, that there were people from all walks of life. Calloused hands and fingers were intertwined with those that had never seen a day in the field. Young and old, fat and thin. It was quite obvious, at least to me, who many of the people were, based on their size and shape and skin. But the masks. They seemed to let people believe that they had anonymity, that they would not be held responsible for their actions, that they would not be judged. But there was more, not only did the mask let you pretend like you weren’t you, to have your identity removed, but that in some cases they seemed to give a new identity. To allow you to be someone else. People dressed with beast masks, like tigers and hawks, were aggressive, circling, while those with sheep and deer were passive, and tended to stay together, seemingly waiting to be picked off by the beasts. There were others too, monsters, plants, landscapes, or just colours and patterns.”

”I wondered, over the years, does a person choose their mask, or does the mask choose the person? Is someone in a wolf mask a sheep by nature, or does a sheep mask conceal a wolf? Or is the mask a chance to truly be who you are inside? Or is it different for each person? So what can you really tell?”

“My friend, Anathia, who attended the same celebration for several years, once said that we all wear masks, even when we don’t. I think this is a very true thing.“



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