Loyalist Caretaker Costume
I sometimes get asked why we still wear this costume. They would argue that we are no longer hunted. We can just work in the open. And I would answer them: "That may be so. But should we not carry on with this tradition? It may look outdated or even weird, but it honours those that have lost their lives for our cause."This costume has a long and storied history with the loyalist caretakers. They wear it during most rituals and ceremonies they conduct in honour of Cassidy, the Last Dragon and their charges. The costume began just as a simple mask that was worn to hide their identity. Other pieces were added over time until it formed a full costume. Its significance has waned over time but is nowadays recognized by many people. Replicas have even found their ways into several movies and plays. Knowledge about the masks' supernatural properties is still very limited though so most replicas come without it. The rules on how and when the costumes have to be worn are not written down anywhere. The costume is adhered to out of the social norm and has seen quite a few changes over time. Usually, a change is initiated by just one caretaker and then either adopted by others or discarded.
ComponentsThe costume consists of five pieces. Underwear and shoes are usually worn with it, but they are not considered as part of the outfit. There are a total of 186 masks around the world in the possession of the caretakers. Additional costumes without masks are sometimes worn as well.
- Dragon Bone Mask. An enchanted mask made from dragon bone. Once put on, the mask melds with the wearer's face and becomes invisible. While wearing the mask, it creates an illusionary facial appearance for anyone who looks at the wearer. This was to protect their identities from those that hunt them. In addition, it protects the wearer from flame burns. The masks enchantments are maintained by the mystical energies provided by the dragon bone. To take off the mask the wearer simply has to touch their face and the mask will appear.
- The illusionary facial appearance effect works by blurring the appearance of the wearer's face. The magic then influences the minds of those who look at it to see a fully defined face. This appearance is based on a mix of faces they have seen in the past. This secondary effect has a range limit, so anyone watching with a binocular would only see the blurred face. Perceptive onlookers will probably figure out that they do not see the real face, though actually seeing through the face would require powerful magic.
- The resistance from burns effect makes the skin of the wearer impervious to the burn damage caused by flames. Any flames which are hotter than the flames created when burning wood or similar materials will overcome this resistance and cause burn damage to the skin. Though it still brings a reduction in damage caused. Despite this protection, the heat of the flames is still painful to the wearer.
- Grey Robe. The core of the costume is a simple grey robe. The robe is usually made of synthetic fabric and has no special properties.
- Rope Belt. A rope belt holds the robe together. Most caretakers just use a simple hemp rope, but it sometimes is replaced with a more fashionable belt.
- Ornamental Red Shawl. The caretakers wear a red shawl which is embroidered with gold. The ornaments from various dragon forms. Although all caretakers have one as it is given to them, not all of them wear it as some consider it to be too decadent.
- Fire-shielded Gloves. As the caretakers often handle fire during rituals, some wear special heat-shielded or fire-retardant gloves. I made them from high-tech material. The caretakers wear them in addition to the mask because the enchantment only prevents burns, but the heat of the fire is still painful.
Occasions to WearThe costume is worn during many rituals, and traditions which are conducted by the caretakers. One such occasion is when the caretakers come together in official capacity.
Initiation CeremonyThe outfit is worn by them for the first time during the caretaker's initiation. The procedures of this ritual are a tightly guarded secret and are usually led by Cassidy herself. All the initiates know is that it involves fire. Still many have to be turned away as the loyalists cannot support an arbitrary number of orphanages.
SermonA simple sermon led by a caretaker in the costume. A sermon usually follows a simple pattern to first thank the dragon for her protection and wisdom. Then the caretaker blesses the attendees using the power granted by the mask. This blessing has a small positive effect on the healing of mental trauma and calms down. Which many of the orphans can benefit from. Then attendees can share stories of the dragon and themselves. The sermon is ended with an individual prayer to either the dragon or any deity they may believe in.
Coming of Age CeremonyThis ceremony takes place to celebrate an orphan becoming 18 years old. During this ceremony, they stand in a cleansing flame and receive the last blessing of their caretaker. With this, they are ready to face the challenges of their lives outside of the orphanage. Here the protective nature of the costume comes in very handy.