The Hell Wars
The Mask has been floating around the world for centuries. Legend has it that this item was created by Death himself to emulate the way he views the world. According to the same legend, a paladin was roaming the countryside of a nation long lost to time. Unable to bear the sight of all the suffering in the world, this paladin would attempt to reverse the work of Death and return souls to their bodies. The power of this paladin was immense and he was able to thwart Death time and time again. Eventually, in his cunning, Death devised a plan. On the most beautiful, life filled day of the year, and some say of the century, Death meat the paladin in a field filled with flowers. Pretending to be impressed with the power and compassion of this champion of justice, Death gave the greatest gift he could give to this paladin. The gift of Sight. While wearing the Mask, the paladin would be able to see everything hidden in the world. The intents of the people, the hidden passages through the planes, the true appearance of the world and even glimpses of the gods on high.
However, Death’s gift did not come without price. The paladin was forever plagued with the image of his wife, the one person that the paladin could not raise again. Along with this curse, the paladin found himself unable to stay his blade when in the presence of evil and unable to remove the mask after his first outburst. Knowing this would be a side effect of his gift, Death attempted to maneuver the most powerful and depraved of people into the path of this paladin. With the help of his god however, the paladin survived and grew more powerful with each challenge he faced. Realizing that his efforts were useless, Death gave in lest the paladin become powerful enough to delay his inevitable passing. Finally, after years of wandering, fighting and healing, the paladin once again felt Death’s presence at his shoulder. This time though, the paladin greeted him as an old friend rather that enemy and rival. Knowing that he had grown old and that his time was at an end, the paladin did not attempt to confront Death and instead, relished his chance for the final rest and a possibility of seeing his beloved once more.
The paladin was buried with his mask and the rest of his gear and there it remained, gathering dust through the years. The next known mention of an item matching its description was some two hundred years later. A well known scoundrel, smuggler and grave robber returned from an “expedition” with a new mask. Donning the mask in a local tavern in order to show off its power. The rest of the information is most likely hyperbole and the exaggeration inherent in “word of mouth” stories however it is clear that almost everybody in the tavern was killed that night save the ship’s boy from a smuggling vessel tied up at port and the wearer of the mask. There are a number of reports, both from guards and farm bumpkins, over the next year. Eventually this smuggler is reported to have killed himself in the main square of the nation’s capital city, screaming and blubbering as he did the deed. Most of the things he said are incoherent however, two things were obvious. The image of haunting beauty and sad depression were constants in his life and that he couldn’t stop himself killing everyone he knew and everyone he saw who portrayed even the slightest of dark taints.
It is theorised that this outburst was what led to the fall of the kingdom as many different factions attributed great powers to the mask and fought each other for control of it. For the next few centuries the mask resurfaced here and there, in the hands of collectors, owned by paladins and blackguards, humans and dragons and every combination of good, evil, humanoid or monster imaginable. Every story that involves a being wearing the mask always includes copious bloodshed, death and destruction as the darkest of monsters seem to be drawn to the item. At one point, even the mighty Tarrasque was awakened to battle the wearer. Its last known location was in the hands of a collector with a hidden manor in the countryside. However, recently there has been a report that the mask went missing mysteriously from its sealed vault in the manor.