The Myriad-Masked

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The Myriad-Masked
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Origin Blood? Flesh? Mist? Are they even sure?
Titles The Million-Masked, The Masked Multitude, The Geode, The Fissure-Faced
Names The Chirurgeon
Aspects Knock Lantern Moth
Date of arrival {{{arrival}}}
Owner(s) {{{owners}}}

The Myriad-Masked is an odd sort of Hour, rarely remaining in a singular body for long and instead living within the minds of those who serve it, mortal, Long, and Name alike. Some say they're not even an Hour at all, but merely an organization that shares a power, a method, and a goal. The servants of the Hour, who adorn themselves in masks resembling cracked geodes that give the Hour their name, however continue to insist that they are a true Hour or are in the process of becoming one. Memories, identities, and names flow freely between the servants of the Hour, and a vast majority of them are completely interchangeable in their identical masks. The Myriad-Masked is a Hour of stealth and subterfuge, favoring tactics of blackmail and infiltration to get what they want. It values knowledge over all else, and values the most well-kept secrets of others as the most valuable of knowledge

History

What would later become the Myriad-Masked was seeded into the minds of mortals by the Hour known as The More-Opened, who in its exploration of the mortal mind transgressed against its individuality, opening doors for the Mist to pass through. Shortly thereafter, The Panopticon was shattered, sending a pulse of radiance throughout the Mansus and the Mists and into the newly-opened minds of these mortals, melding them into one with its searing radiance. So, the Hour known as the Myriad-Masked was born, as these mortals gathered in the Chamber of Revelations to gaze upon the crystal-filled fissures that were created when the Panopticon shattered. Here, they learned the arts of wounds and openings from studying the fissures in the walls and the floor, and the arts of lights and revelations from the memories that remained of the Panopticon, and the arts of confusion and deception from the Mists within their minds. Here, they devoted themselves to knowing all there was to know, and to transgress against that which mortals, Long, and Hours wish to keep secret, hidden, or forgotten.

Appearance

The Myriad-Masked is secretive above all else, and communicates mostly through subtle whispers to members, who in turn relay its message onward when necessary. It has, however, been known to take on a variety of forms:

The Fissure: The most common manifestation of the Myriad-Masked, though even the Myriad-Masked themselves is unsure whether it truly is a manifestation of the Hour itself or merely something created by its power. The Fissure, true to its name, manifests as fissures filled with numerous, faintly glowing, and very sharp crystals. Also the perfect size to crawl into, an idea which may seem unappealing until you're stuck in a Suppression Bureau cell. Where they take you is the up to the Myriad-Masked, as is how much space exists within them. The masks that the members of the Myriad-Masked wear can each open up into The Fissure when the right words are spoken, allowing for quick escape. The Fissure is the thing responsible for the distinctive flowing parallel lines that scar many members of the Myriad-Masked.

The Fissure-Faced: A tall androgynous humanoid seemingly composed of stone, with a large fissure where its face should be filled with glowing crystals. Despite its rocky composition, it moves fluidly like a dancer, with unearthly grace and speed. The light from the crystals in its face are said to induce revelations. Rarely seen.

The Geode: Accounts of this manifestation are apocryphal, and describe a large and hollow geode with one or several holes, often floating in mid-air. Most accounts describe it as existing either within a large chamber within the Fissure, or within the Mansus. All accounts share a common thread among them: An individual climbing into the geode through one of the holes, where they are pierced by sharp crystals and almost bleed out, but simultaneously gain great revelations.

The Fountain: Accounts of this manifestation are all both apocryphal and very old, describing a glittering pool with similar functions to the Fissure, but as a water-filled series of caves. The oldest accounts describe submerged caves with smooth walls and occasional air pockets. Newer accounts describe the crystalline walls characteristic of the Fissure, with the youngest seeing the Pool as a connection to a submerged part of the Fissure

Principles

Worship

Cults

Mark

Talk to a Myriad-Masked about your Temptation to change it into:

  1. Temptation: Exemption: It has occurred to me that I leave the world I know and become a part of something greater, something that transcends and transgresses against society as I know it [This card will allow you to win a Knock victory, if you upgrade it far enough. Dreaming on it may advance it or change it.]

Dream on your Temptation with a Knock lore fragment to transform it into a Dedication

  1. Dedication: Exemption: I have dedicated myself to the study of society and the secrets it keeps, and how they are bought, sold, and bartered with. I am not alone in this dedication.

Dream on your Dedication with a Knock lore fragment and [Stag Door Equivalent] to transform it into an Ascension

  1. Ascension: Exemption: I can remain unnoticed, now, and unhindered. Crowds let me pass, as do most doors and some wardens. Sometimes, someone I do not recognize flashes me a knowing smile. I know this to be the Third Mark

The Season of Ambitions will grab your Ascension, and give it back alongside an Excursion. Excursions are similar to Expeditions, though they decay and are done alone. Put an Excursion into your Explore verb, and you will be given four slots: one for a Passion, Reason, or Health card, one for a Tool, one for an Ingredient, and one for an Influence. The first level of Excursion has only one obstacle. During Expeditions, Curses are present, but failing to banish one wounds you and ends the Excursion instead of triggering a Dormant Curse. Failing the Excursion wounds the Passion, Reason, or Health put in, wastes the Excursion, and gives Notoriety and Dread. Health wounds to an Injury, Reason wounds to Mania, and Passion wounds to Melancholy. Mania can be cured by Dreaming on it with Funds or Erudition, and Melancholy can be cured by Dreaming on it with Funds or Glimmering. If you fail to a single Obstacle thrice without getting wounded, the Excursion also ends, but you aren't wounded. Completing the expedition yields a Puzzlebox and Mystique. In both cases, the Ingredient and Influence are consumed. The Season of Ambitions will lower your Ascension (to a minimum of 3) unless you provide a Puzzlebox or a Code. Working the Puzzlebox opens two slots, one for a Tool or Lore, and another for an Influence or Ingredient. Working the Puzzlebox with enough Knock aspect will open it, consume the Influence or Ingredient, and grant the First Code. The Season of Ambitions will take the Code and the Ascension, and grant you the Fourth Mark.

  1. Ascension: Exemption:

The Second Code required for the Fifth Mark is found within a Scabbard associated with the Hour known as The Partisan, which is found after an Excursion with two different Obstacles. It requires more Knock than the Puzzlebox to open.

  1. Ascension: Exemption:

The Third Code required for the Sixth Mark is found within an Oyster associated with the Hour known as The More-Opened, which is found after an Excursion with three different Obstacles. It requires more Knock than the Scabbard to open.

  1. Ascension: Exemption:

The last Excursion has four Obstacles, one of which is always Long. Yes, you heard that right, you're heading to Point Silver to steal a bottle of water that allows you to remain forgotten by all who haven't tasted it. It requires tons of Knock to open, though. After you've opened it, simply dream on it and your Ascension to chug it, and the beloved followers you've grown to know and love will all forget about you. You're one of the Myriad-Masked now.

Servants

Unlike the servants of most Hours, a majority of the Myriad-Masked aren't summoned, instead voluntarily offering their services to those walking the Streets Strange by Moonlight. For a price, of course. Ordinary money won't do, but Spintria are perfectly fine, as are artifacts, books (except language books), ingredients, and Secret Histories lore. The higher in aspects the item, the longer the Myriad-Masked will stay with you. Myriad-Masked carry the object given to them throughout the time they spend under you, thus giving them access to a little of its aspect.

An Opener: 5 Knock 3 Edge Openers are the most common specialization among the Myriad-Masked, providing reconnaissance, security, and if the Myriad-Masked calls for it, violence.

A Keeper: 5 Lantern 3 Knock Keepers are the rarest specialization among the Myriad-Masked, acting as oracles and knowledge-brokers.

A Closer: 5 Knock 3 Moth Closers are responsible for keeping the Myriad-Masked secret, hiding evidence, tampering with records, and coming up with cover stories

The Chirurgeon: Knock 12 Heart 12 Summoning requires Knock 10 Heart 8 Lantern 2 After summoning them, they require payment just as the other Myriad-Masked. One of the few Names of the Myriad-Masked who have been allowed to keep an identity. Talking to them allows you to put in a wounded follower, which heals them for free and instead of giving them a scar, gives them a small scar which gives them only one of the scar's aspect instead of two, but only counts as half a scar towards killing the follower.

Locations

The Fansus

The Chamber of Visions:

Last night, I once again crawled through radiant fissures in search of the Chamber of Visions, where the Myriad-Masked hold court, when I encountered another individual like me with a face where the mask should be. A wounded, shivering scrap of a mortal came limping towards me through a stray tunnel, begging and pleading me to show him the way out of the tunnels. In exchange, he would tell me a secret, he said, insisting that it'd soon be worthless anyway as he had sold it to the Myriad-Masked.

A Favor from Authority

Last night, I watched from within a crystalline crack in the wall of the Chamber of Visions as a peregrine adept debated the nature of surveillance with a Name of the Myriad-Masked. The adept spoke of a grand prison with a mirror-walled chamber in the center, constructed so that a warden in the center could view every prisoner from within the chamber without the prisoners knowing whether they were watched or not, and argued that such surveillance would lead to perfect obedience. The Name told the adept a tale of an ingenious king who fed the advisers he knew were spies with false information, to mislead his foreign enemies. And as the adept inquired about the long-dead Panopticon and whether it in its vast wisdom was able to predict its eventual fate, the Name asked her whether she knew she was being watched. It was then I realized that the Name had known all along that I was watching them, and when the adept realized that I had realized that the Name had known all along that I had been watching them. That knowledge I kept with me, when I awoke.

Glimmering: A Lesson Learned

Last night, I once again entered the Chamber of Visions where the Panopticon once held court. As I wandered the central stadium, gazing upwards towards the rows of Myriad-Masked perched on the rows of amphitheater pews, a geode-masked individual emerged from a fissure before bowing down and whispering a few words into the ear of another. The masked crowds instantly drew closer to one another, whispering and hissing among themselves about the new secret that was theirs. Some words of that secret reached my ears, and some slivers of those words remained with me when I returned to the waking world.

Secret Histories Lore

Last night, I clambered myself through crystal-lit crevices and into the Chamber of Visions, where all fissures lead. The Chamber was empty tonight, lit only by the faint glow from the crevices. From a distance, I watched as the Fissure-Faced emerged from one such crevice with an impossible, dancer-line grace to their stony body. It is rare for them to take a single shape, these days. As I marveled at their beauty they turned their head towards me, shining upon me with their crystalline spotlight-face and filling my skull with lights and whispers. When I awaken, the lights and whispers remain.

Lantern Influence

Last night, I crawled through radiant fissures into the Chamber of Visions, where the Panopticon once was shattered. As I walked past the bleached amphitheater pews, I noticed something glimmering in the corner of my eye. The Chamber was bleached white when the Panopticon shattered, but a few spots are known to remain as mirror-like windows into perplexing sights as the chamber was when the Panopticon held court in it. Each such mark is said to memorialize a Name of the Panopticon, who were obliterated by the shattering of the Hour and shielded a spot on the floor with their body. Last night, I looked upon one such spot, and saw the Panopticon in its brilliance, as it watched all there was to watch. In its brilliance, I vowed it to watch too, and by its light I vowed to never forget as it once had. Those promises stay with me as I awake, lingering in my skull as half-remembered revelations.

Fascination

Last night I once again attempted to reach the Chamber of Visions, where the scarcest of secrets are sold. But as I crawled through the crystal-coated fissures interspersing the Foundations of the Mansus that were created when the Panopticon shattered, following the faint voices of the Myriad-Masked echoing from within the chamber, I realized that the secretive Hour had hidden the Chamber from adepts for the night. Perhaps they had found a sliver of truth interesting enough that even the terms of its purchase would be secret, perhaps they had called a conference or emergency lockdown in fear of some new or unknown threat, or perhaps they simply had closed it as a feint or distraction and were in truth pursuing more interesting matters elsewhere. As I speculated upon these matters I continued to climb through the caves as their the sharp crystal walls cut deep wounds in my hands. As I awake, I can still trace shapes of those wounds, each cut a sign of a door that I was denied. Perhaps, the doors will repay me.

Knock Influence

The Histories

Items

Tools

Ingredients

Influences

Books

The Treaty of Kerisham: A small sheaf of papers, ratifying a treaty made between the Suppression Bureau and the Masked Multitude. Quite old, and unlikely to be in power anymore.

Before reading: The demands made on the Suppression Bureau by the Masked Multitude begin with unassuming non-interference policies and demands of secrecy, but later degenerate into nonsensical pleadings of almost ritual nature. Why does the Suppression Bureau need to abstain from looking into pools of water through a mirror, and would they really agree to deliver a shipment of cut amethysts to a safehouse in Helsinki the second new moon each year?

After reading: The demands made on the Multitude by the Suppression Bureau are much more unassuming, but also more interesting. The list of signees is both filled with pseudonyms and likely outdated, but there is a list of areas that the Multitude isn't allowed to touch, and secrets they aren't allowed to sell. Hopefully, that list continues to hold power

Yields: 4 Knock, A Favor from Authority

29.2.1922: The pleadings of a disgraced Suppression Bureau official to the Hour called the Geode, as transcribed by one of its knowledge-keepers.

Before reading: The official pleads to the Geode and promises to reveal the innermost secrets of the Suppression Bureau if the Hour lets him out of the cell where he is being held. After he recites a mystery of Knock from memory, a glowing fissure opens in the cell and the official enters.

After reading: The official crawls blindly through narrow tunnels filled with sharp crystals, revealing secret after secret. As the crystals tear marks into his skin, he curses the Geode and speaks of a "secret of secrets" that he refuses to reveal. Shortly thereafter, he finds himself back in his cell, still covered with wounds.

Yields: 6 Knock, Dread, A Favor from Authority

A Manual for the Assembly and Disassembly of the Body: In Latin. The physician Henrik Lejonberg writes of a secret method for taking apart and reassembling the human body without the use of tools, learned by observing his enigmatic mentor.

Before reading: Lejonberg writes of the method's uses in removing plague-nodes and parasites from the body, occasionally including various aphorisms his mentor uttered during surgery.

After reading: Towards the end of the book, Lejonberg recounts a heavily wounded patient in a mask resembling a cracked geode asking for his mentor, who is nowhere to be found. Lejonberg attempts to utilize his mentor's techniques to mend the patient's wounds, but fails. The book ends with a transcript of the patient's last words, in which they beckon the mentor to return to the service of the hour called the Myriad-Masked.

Yields: 6 Knock 6 Heart

Rites

Relationships