Crowlin exhaled as he severed the last of the magic threads with the blade of energy. Allowing the concentrated energy to dissipate, he stood upright, grimacing as being bent over for a couple of hours took its toll on his spine. Over by the door, the supervising knight had fallen asleep out of boredom, and the sunlight coming through the cracked door was fading. Evening was coming on fast.
Carefully reaching down, Crowlin took the edges of the mask and lifted it off the corpse’s face, bracing himself for what he might see under it. But as the light fell across the corpse’s face, Crowlin saw nothing unusual aside from a man he didn’t recognize, which was all he could expect.
Looking at the mask, Crowlin turned it over in his hands. It was made of wood - what kind he was unsure - and was light and hardy. There were measured cuts carved into the sides of the mask, and there was no physical representation of where a mouth and nose would be. The eyeholes were wide, allowing for a considerable visual range.
As Crowlin hefted the mask in his hands, a strange fascination began to come over him, and a compulsion to put on the mask came over him. He wanted to try it on, see what it was like to look at the world through it. Turning it over, he raised it to his face.
The sudden snort of the sleeping knight snapped Crowlin out of his fascination; he slammed the mask down on the table and took his hands off it. The ease with which he’d been compelled to put on the mask was frightening. Deliberately ignoring the mask, Crowlin turned his attention to the corpse, checking the temperature and texture of his skin and pulling back one eyelid to examine the eye.
“Gah!” Crowlin gasped, darting back. The corpse’s eye was entirely black - no iris, no pupil, no white. Just pure, solid black all the way through. What was more, the eyelid remained open, staring creepily up at the ceiling. Edging forward a little, Crowlin snatched the mask off the table beside the corpse and backed away again, using a nudge of magic to close the corpse’s eye from afar.
Wrapping the mask in cloth to prevent the apparent allure from grabbing the attention of others, Crowlin nudged awake the mage knight supposedly supervising him. “Ensure that the corpse is placed back in the alcove.” he ordered.
“Mm? What?” the mage knight said, blinking and rising. “What’s that you’ve got bundled there?”
“The mask.” Crowlin answered. “I was able to remove it. I don’t recognize the man and he doesn’t have any belongings, so this mask is the only clue to what we’re dealing with. I must go to the Great Library and see if there are any books with knowledge of masks like these.” Crowlin stepped out, nodding to the other mage knight standing guard. “I will return with answers as quickly as possible.”