1999-06-22: Festival Of Masks Approaching

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Pacific Edition

Festival Of Masks Approaching

Author: Genn Wintord Published: June 22, 1999

The Festival of Masks hath been postponed until July 2nd.

It seems like hardly yesterday, but that time of year is upon us once more. Once again, the Festival of Masks, a yearly holiday celebrated in the independent city-state of Nujel'm, will be held this month, tentatively scheduled for June 25th.

For those who missed it last year, it is a peculiar occasion by other standards, the streets are lined with tables covered in free food and drink, and any that attend are welcome. It earned its name because the festival participants all wear gruesome masks and dress in bright colorful clothing. There is also a custom that you do not recognize your fellow revelers, no matter how flimsy the disguise.

Beneath the merriment, however, is a more sinister allure, the Game. At each Festival, a person carries a special box, which has been locked and trapped by the best tinkers that money can afford. Those who play the game are to find this person, no matter what disguise he has, by snooping him, and then another, skilled in the arts of the pickpocket, must snatch it from him. The Prize can only be obtained if someone brings whatever is inside the box to the Master of the Ceremonies, who will preside over the Festival.

Not everyone is happy, though. The Lord General of Trinsic openly expressed his disgust with the Game in a recent interview, as an example of the ‘decadence, frivolity, and lack of virtue’ that Nujel'm shares. “They award those with criminal skills!" he had growled, clenching his mailed fist so tightly I thought the rivets would pop out. "Here in Trinsic, we have our own ceremonies for such scum, that are not so pleasant.” Your reporter’s delicate sensibilities prevented her from inquiring further into the matter.

There are some changes from last year’s festival as well. The Master of the Ceremonies announced yesterday that unlike last year, masks will not be sold to the general public, it will be ‘Bring your own’. He cited difficulties in procurement, and the general chaos it caused last year, as the reason. Ben Kahns of Magincia, one of the Festival sponsors, told this roving reporter that he would attempt to find a supply of masks and other festive paraphernalia for those who lack them, but he made no promises.

The exact date and time of the Festival should be announced soon! Until then, I will be digging through my own bureau for mine…

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