task one: mask. a covering for all or part of the face, worn as a disguise, or to amuse or terrify other people.
template psd ▪ task post
the music filtered through the pavilion of the gramophone, the static of the opening strings crackling as it soothed into one of her favorite melodies. she loved this music player and the peace it brought her, hidden away in her tiny safehouse. the one place that was well and truly hers.
beau felt at home in her room at eugenia’s apartment, it was cozy and allowed her to rest easy. she liked the chateau, the catacombs, and whatever other places the guild has her stay the night at but here?
this place was like no other. she had discovered it on her way back in from a mission to the east of val faim and fell in love. it was by accident, she had turned down the wrong road and ended up in the backroads of a once populous farming village. the fields were broken and brown, crops wilted and falling apart. the small, stone cottage was abandoned and covered almost entirely with green foliage. she was running out of time, she had to make an escape. beau had taken out one of her few knives, cutting through the leaves and vines wherever necessary to get her in the home. she needed a place to stay for the night, that’s all, once she was sure her cover wasn’t blown she would leave and return to her city.
but she found herself coming back, adding more to the shelves, stocking the pantry with rations and whatever sweets she grabbed from the bakery on her way out of town. she would lug tomes, books, and scrolls there. she never felt the inspiration to read in the city, the noises and her own responsibilities weighed on her mind far too much. but in this sanctuary, beau could delve into fantasies, stories that captured all of her attention, or any new knowledge and research that she couldn’t help but be fascinated by.
her bed was more of a cot. it’s where she sat now, after letting the music wash over her and her heartbeat slow down. she had just finished her ritual, checking every corner for any possible intrusions. (nobody was ever here. she was just raised paranoid). she had unpacked whatever clothes and new knickknacks she wanted to add to her collection, had started up a pot of tea to prepare for a night of reading.
the mission today wasn’t difficult, but her nervous energy and extra time had her feet moving automatically, quickly exiting the capital. she had hoped nobody would call on her, but she also didn’t care. she didn’t want others to see her like this, so caught up in her mind. sweet odeline, they’d laugh at her.
beau looked to her right, where her mask laid on her pillow. it was a simple black one, easy for long days of work. the design was beautiful, a golden dragon that curled up the right side of the mask. it’s chin rested over the eye hole, and the scales glimmered. she had put on her favorite broach to match. her face was sweaty from the journey there. the sun offered no apologies and she had wanted to get here as soon as possible. the cool night air was drifting through the cracked window now though and gave her anxiety a semblance of comfort.
it felt wrong to have her mask off even when she was by herself. she remembers the first few nights she stayed here, where she kept her mask on as she slept. she winces, thinking about how she would wake up in the middle of the night, her mask clanging to the floor after a particular recurring night terror. eventually, the mask would lay next to her in bed, then on the small table next to her bed, and now displayed proudly on a shelf. there were four there now, propped up against the wall alongside books, candles, jewelry, coats, a compass, a lonely journal. there were no parameters here, nobody to glance at all her possessions, the dor she clung so closely to. the few gifts she allowed herself as she grew comfortable with the money she earned.
even so, the safehouse wasn’t grand. it was three crowded rooms at best: a tiny kitchen with the cabinets and stove pressed against the wall. there was a living room but really, it was the bedroom with a single table for dining purposes. and then there was a small bathroom to the right of the kitchen, it was nothing special. there had once been a mirror above the tiny sink, but a rash decision led to it breaking all over the floor. she never looked into the mirror much anyway, she never really liked her face and she didn’t even have anyone to show it to anymore. she took comfort in her masks and not being seen. she took comfort in not seeing herself. a foolish thought came to mind: one that whispered that she could learn to be comfortable, to show someone her face again.
beau scowled as she took a sip of her jasmine tea, what a lie. the warmth from the tea settled into her bones, bringing her the comfort she needed as her hands began to shake. it was quiet, save for the music as the gramophone moved onto the next piece. it was quiet and she didn’t want to think of her own thoughts anymore. so, she took a deep breath and then another sip of her tea. after setting the dainty cup to the side, she reached for the newest addition to her library:
There was never a still heart at the racetracks, the phenomenon of the races held at Val Faim’s Ses Ecuries Impériales has captured the attention of all who venture into the city. Though the history and establishment of the stables and its use for cavalry horses is not new, the addition of the races in recent years has greatly...