Mask is almost as old as humanity itself. When humans were created to serve the First Folk, the Beastfolk almost universally rejected them. The Beastfolk wanted to be the only loyal servants of the other First Folk, even though humans were sent to serve the Beastfolk as well. Mask was the first human to live in harmony with the Beastfolk by crafting a bestial mask and putting aside their human identity.
Although most of the Beastfolk remained prejudiced against humans, Mask at least smoothed relations enough for them to trade goods with the humans.
Mask spent many years among the Beastfolk, but eventually sought out new groups to live among. They would create new masks every time they went to live among new people. Just about every culture has a story of a masked person visiting, adopting their culture completely, and sharing tales of other cultures they had previously taken part of. Mask became know for their love of shared history, travel, and philosophy, so much so that they are given everlasting life so long as their heart is filled with these joys. Indeed, Mask has traveled between communities for centuries. When they have run out of new places to visit, they return to areas they have not seen for a generation to experience these locations anew.
With the rise of formal knowledge institutions such as schools and libraries, Mask would also record their travels in journals to be archived in such places. Mask has authored hundreds of these books and they are prized for their wisdom and detailed accounts of current events.
In the most recent era, there are actually several Masks roaming the world at any given time. Several libraries curated by Masks followers have also been established in large cities, called Mask Houses.
Teachings, Philosophy, or other key elements Edit
Masks followers are, for the most part, well aware that Mask is not an individual but rather a series of people taking up Mask’s identity when the previous person was unable to continue travelling or no longer wished to be Mask. While it is known, it isn’t really acknowledge, but it’s not denied, either. Followers prefer to think that all of those individuals ARE Mask, not just people acting as Mask.
Like Mask themself, followers encourage others to explore new identities. It is vital for those who haven’t found their calling in life to try many things. Even those who are sure of their path are encouraged to spend some time under a new identity once in a while as a way to give them a new perspective and grant them experiences they couldn’t even fathom if they stayed the course.
Mask themself is less of an deity to be worshiped and more of a divine philosopher. Followers rarely pray to Mask and may only do so in dire identity crises or times of intense change. Guidance and consolation is better provided by talking it out with the clergy and other followers, or by reading through Mask’s vast holy texts. Since Mask is one of few gods to actually be embodied in a mortal form, followers fortunate enough to cross paths with them can directly receive blessings, often in the form of cryptic advice and a gesture in the right direction. To receive a mask carved by Mask themself is the greatest of honors.
Followers of Mask hold sacred anything that changes greatly. Butterflies and their earlier life stages, the moon and its many phases, deciduous trees, and beaches often awash with new shells are beloved by Mask and their followers.
While Mask would be acknowledged as the leader of the clergy, Mask focuses on traveling and writing new journals, while occasionally giving advice to followers. The lower levels of clergy, known as Visors, do most of the work involved in maintaining the established religion following Mask.
Visors are individuals who, often, have already lived out several different identities before initiating as a cleric. Just about all Visors live and work within Mask Houses, though occasionally they will leave these places to aid others. New Visors start as custodians of Mask Houses. Between caring for the archives and assisting senior Visors, each Visor must make an account of their past identities, making a detailed record of their history, the extent of their knowledge if applicable, and any advice for those who would follow a path similar to their own. They must make these full accounts for every identity they have taken. When they have completed accounting for their history, they can begin acting as advisers to others.
Visors are tasked with aiding others who wish to adopt new identities. Mask Houses are repository of several kinds of basic knowledge as well as archives, so those seeking new identities can study up on their new path before starting out. One wanting to become a blacksmith can read the accounts of previous Visors who also lived as a blacksmith for a time, and additionally learn the basics of smithing. Once the person they are aiding gathered the available amount of knowledge, a Mask will accompany them as they set out, if their aid is necessary. Continuing with the blacksmith example, the Mask would use their connections to find their beneficiary an apprenticeship.