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Methyltina 1, 1000 PC

In a dark alley in Troll's Bridge, a man is surrounded by five others in white robes. Another, wearing a mask, approaches the stranger. The masked figure looks at him and speaks in a strange feminine voice.

“I am sorry. I hope my associates were not too hard on you.”

Noticing the man staring at her mask, “So you want to know why I am wearing a mask? Why do you want to know, what advantage will you gain over me if I tell you my story?”

Her captive glances away and then back to the mask, “Oh, you are just curious? Curiosity can get you killed stranger, as it almost did with me. But, since you are wondering now and you have been following me since I arrived in town, I do not see why I could not tell you what happen to me. What difference does it make now anyway, you will be dead soon enough.

“You can call me Mask, that is my name…now. I was not always known by this appellation. Oh no, my name was linked with a powerful House in Troll's Bridge. My father was one of the leaders of the Council of Houses here in Troll's Bridge. I was a princess and one of the most, if not the most, beautiful women in Troll's Bridge. Men and women would likely kill each other over me.”

Seeing the man's reaction, “Oh, are you offended by my statement? If you are, that is because you do not know anything about the nobility of Troll's Bridge, stranger. Yes, nobles often have the strangest of tastes. Some like women, some like men and some like children. Do not worry. My tastes were, let us say, more acceptable to the plebes.”

“I was also rich, well my father was, but now I have lost everything.” The man blanches, “What happen, you wonder? Well, let us say I was a naive girl, thinking that everything was due me. Even love. You see, I fell for the wrong man.

Responding to the man's questioning look, “No, I will not tell you from which House I was. That is irrelevant now anyway, but there was a man for which I had an affection. Ezra Nanz was not a noble, but served the most powerful man in Troll's Bridge. My father told me not to see this person, but since I was a stupid girl, I just ignored him. Ezra was so nice to me and I was so blind. I did not see the masquerade that was unfolding before me. He seduced me, just to bring me in front of his master, the same master you serve, stranger. I just could not believe he did this for that filthy man and he played me for a whore who would do the dirtiest things for a penny. That night, Ezra told me he was going to show me something that I have never seen before.

“Oh, he was not lying; I never saw what was coming. He told me his master was gone from the property on a trip to Waldsee. He also told me that no one would disturb our intimacy that night. He gave the day off to all the servants and had me enter the house of the most powerful man of Troll's Bridge. The house was decorated with the latest fashion; red-toned walls and war tapestries. Chandeliers where installed in specific corners of each room to make the light spread in the perfect way. I was so impressed. Even my house was not as beautifully arranged as this place. After a couple of drinks in the main room, Ezra told me it was time to consummate our love and asked me to go up with him to the master's chamber. I must say I was frighten, but it was not the first time I made love with someone. Though I was not pure, still, going to his master's room and making love into his bed was exciting. I followed him upstairs, my head spinning. I thought it was the alcohol and the excitement of doing something dangerous. It was not. Just before entering the room, my heart was beating like it never had before and my head was spinning wildly. When he opened the door, I felt my heart stop when I saw Hardun Chicdell, the master of the house, sitting on is bed, naked. Then nothing...complete darkness.

“When I regained my senses, that bastard was on the top of me, ramming me, violating me, as if I was a rag doll. I tried to get away, but I was firmly secured to the bed with rope. He raped me, that night, over and over again. It was burning inside me and when I thought he was finish, he continue with other objects. I closes my eyes, while he was abusing my body.

“Then, after a while it stopped. Opening my eyes to see what was going to happen, the one I felt for, Ezra, took the place of his master and violated me even worse than Hardun had. There was blood everywhere in the bed, but that did not stop him and he continued until he experienced his ecstasy. Then I blacked out again only to wake up tied to a tree, naked, badly bruised and blood covering my legs. I panicked as they were pouring oil over my body, holding torches in their hands. They intended to burn me alive. Was it just to make sure I did not talk of this to anyone, to my father, or just for the pleasure it.

“After they finished soaking my body, they did ask me if I had something to tell them before dying. I told them I would have my revenge, in this world or in the next. They both laughed at me and set me on fire. I was screaming, I was screaming so loudly that they jumped on their horses and rode away as fast as they could. The flames were eating my skin and the pain quickly faded away was replaced by darkness.”

The captive looks around for some means of escape, but finds none, all color leaving his features.

“I do not know what happen next, I woke up in a pool where four people in white robes where removing the burnt skin from my body. The pain was unbearable, I was screaming at them to let me die, but they would not listen and continued removing skin from my body. I blacked out again. When I finally came back to my senses, a beautiful women was looking at me. She said that I was lucky she was wandering the wood, She had cast a frost spell on me that saved my life. I screamed at her; I wanted to die.

“Who were they that wanted to keep me alive after what had happened. She told me that they could not fix my body, but they could try to fix my mind and my soul. I told them to go to hell with my soul, for all I could care now.

“I finally asked them to look for my father, but they told me he was found in is house dead, having hanged himself, but I was sure he had been murdered. Hardun Chicdell probably hired some assassin to make sure my father would not try to find what happen with me and at the same time expose him to face the council.

“She told me that her order decided to help me. She explained to me that they used a recently deceased women's body and simulated the burning of the body, just in case they returned to the forest to verify I was really dead. Thinking I did not survive, they would not look for me, which would give me time to heal, physically and mentally. She took me to The Floating Tower high over The Crater.

“They moved me to the tower only a week after being burned and they drugged me so the pain would not kill me during the trip. There, they took care of my body and made sure I was getting better. After six months of taking care of my wounds, they removed my bandages. I saw my body for the first time. I could not bear the vision. I had lost everything, my breast were gone, replaced by two formless pieces of skin. My face was lipless, emotionless and blank, nothing. I could not believe what had happened to me and they, knowing that, gave me what you see today, this mask to hide my hideous face and these white robes to hide my hideous body. It took almost a full year before I could walk again. After I got use to my new self, it took almost two years before I could wear robes without pain.

“They started to show me how to use magic. I think, at first, they did this so my mind could wander elsewhere, but they soon found out that I was not the naive girl anymore. My dedication to the art was, let us say, more than what one is used to seeing in a normal apprentice. I studied day and night for the first five years of my apprenticeship. I learned many things and gained much power unknown to me before. I can now bend magical essence almost at my will and I will become even more powerful with time. I was eighteen years of age when that girl died. Now I am thirty-three years old and it is time to have both men responsible for my situation punished from what they have done to me, or should I say to that girl. But for you, my friend, your quest stops here.”

Twenty minutes later, the corpse was still burning in the alley even as guards were trying to extinguish the blaze with buckets of water.

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