A Watched Plot Never Boils

…a lesson for writers, that


The Doclopedia #1,144

Magical Masks: The Mask Of Frankenstein

First off, students, this mask has nothing to do with that unfortunate wretch Victor Frankenstein or his creation. It does, however have everything to do with his cousin, an equally mad wizard by the name of Karl Frankenstein.

Wizard Frankenstein was obsessed with the thought of cheating death. This is a not uncommon thing among wizards, despite the fact that most will live two to three centuries. He consulted all of the usual texts and a good many unusual one, too, but to no avail. He would never reach the level of power necessary to become a lich, the usual method for attaining some degree of immortality.

Still determined to escape death’s embrace, Karl set about transferring his soul into some object that a human might used, and once used, would allow his soul to take control of their body. He decided upon a mask.

For two years, the madman wove dark spells, several requiring human sacrifices. At the end of things, weak and near death, he instructed his apprentices to cut off his face and place it into a specially prepared chemical bath. They did as he instructed them and he died at the moment his face entered the cursed liquid.

A week later, the apprentices removed the mask, for that is what the horrid skin had become, and rinsed it in the blood of three virgins. The mask was beautiful, showing the face of a young man, made of finest leather and decorated with gold, silver and jade. It was so alluring that the eldest apprentice slipped it on. He writhed in pain, unable to scream. A few seconds later the voice of Karl Frankenstein boomed out “I live!” and laughed maniacally. He strutted around, telling his remaining two apprentices how they would all soon move to a better location and pursue darker and more powerful magicks.

But then he removed the mask, which flew from his hand, landing acros the room. Suddenly gasping for breath, the wizard fell to the floor and died. Well, actually, the apprentice’s body died. Karl Frankenstein was back inside the mask, where he learned that evil spells enact a price upon those who cast them.

The curse is that to remain alive, the mask must never be removed. Now, this might seem a simple task, but curses will have their little twists and this one causes the mask to begin itching a year and a day after it is put on. Karl has yet to last more than a month after the itching starts.

And then there is the part about getting the mask found by somebody, so they might put it on. Since Karl often tears it off while in a remote or hidden place, it can lie undiscovered for years or even decades. To date, 215 years after his initial death, the mask has managed to give Karl Frankenstein only 14 years of added life.