Gosfet

Through veil we see the world eternal.
— Xusfia of the Hidden Covenant
  Gosfet (Xivi: dqw), also known as Witch Veil, or Lamia Mask, is a broad term predominantly referring to a type of magical mask, bestowed by Lomot, crafted by the lamia, and introduced to Album during the Great Exile of the Witches of 333.   Gosfets hold great significance for the lamias as divine protection, sacred tombstones, and powerful Tenuma amplifiers. They had been worn by many lamias entering the mortal realm, yet that number has dwindled notably throughout the years. The few masks that remain today are coveted by many art collectors and jealously guarded by witches of Marevet.      

Origin

 
Our Dormant Mother ʝąƖơɱơɬ gave us her faces, so we too could dream forever.
— Lyxia the Grin Witch
  The origin of the gosfet dates back to the Endless Immortal War - an era unbound by time and devoid of any written records. As such, there are only the surviving testimonies of old lamias to shed light on the matter of the masks.  
Legend of the Faces of Lomot
  When Lilu met Lomot in the greatest depths of Gallana Amon, the goddess presented her with the Pact of Faces. Lilu's face was torn away and devoured by Lomot, and in exchange, her people became the lamia - 'children of the waking dream'. The endless war came to an end - like many other endless things - yet Lliu's people did not. Protected from Mavet's snow and Leva's severed moon, lamias would live immortal until they reached the Amonim.   The first one to achieve the perfect dream was none other than Lilu herself. She carried the truth with her into the sacred grove of Gallana Amon and opened the path to Lomot's embrace. Her eight daughters observed her transcendence, stricken with grief and joy as they watched their mother's body crystalize and her soul illuminate.   Lilu's crystal form became her tombstone, and all her daughters stepped back in reverence - all but one. The youngest of them approached her mother's sleeping corpse and carved out its face with a knife she crafted from shroud. The young lamia held up her mother's face and wore it as her own in front of all of her sisters. Cries and screams echoed through the deep forest, only to be lulled a moment later. The young one exited the grove alone with the gosfet over her face, Lilu's spirit dwelling within.
     

Introduction to Album

 
If the forest was our womb, the gosfet is the umbilical cord.
— Giva the Glaze Witch
  It is unknown to what end gosfets were used back in Gallana Amon, but their role after the Great Exile of the Witches was always evident. Crossing the border into the mortal realm of Album stripped the lamia of most of their powers. Their Tenuma grew significantly weaker, as did their connection with Lomot. Worst of all, their immortality drained away from them, aging the oldest lamias so rapidly death claimed them in an instant. The only ones who were immune to the curse of mortality were those fortunate enough to have their gosfets on as they entered the Albian Kingdom.   The few masked elders thus became the Damurim - 'witch-leaders' of their people. They gradually split into separate small communities, each headed by at least one Damuri. Most Albian settlements demanded the removal of the gosfets before the lamia could be admitted as refugees. This led to several communities scattering to the wilderness, while others hid their Damurim or negotiated a compromise.      

Art

 
'She dared not look at me. I dared not avert my gaze. Her face was filled with a lust for the flesh, holding unknown depths; a true gosfet of a woman.'
— Albian literature
  For the first hundred years after the exile, lamias managed to hide the gosfets' supernatural essence from humans. The Albians feared or admired the Damurim solely based on the mysterious nature of their masks. Their shapes were all unique and intriguing, featuring designs that weren't conceived of yet in Album. This sparked newly-found inspiration with up-and-coming artists hoping to make a name for themselves.   One such man was Behen Ailemasela, whose most successful paintings managed to engrave the gosfets' beauty and untold value in the kingdom's collective perception. This - along with other celebrated works - eventually led to a nationwide craze with the masks. Many sculptors attempted to imitate the gosfets' enchanting appearances, and citizens from all parts of the land began to wear them as a fashion statement. Some young lamias decided to wear the imitations as well, creating a cultural bridge between the two races for the first time.      

War

 
To show your face is to show your humanity. Witches have none.
  During Album's second civil war, lamias were targeted by the Imansipata Militia and treated as hostile enemies. This was the last straw for several communities that decided to break their peaceful ways and fend off their aggressors. In one of the most famous battles of the war, the Battle of Bloody Tears, a Damuri witch revealed her hidden magic in a violent display of dark Tenuma. Her gosfet shone brightly as Sleep-Demons were unleashed upon all who threatened her people.     Although the witch's strength was overwhelming, an Imansipata soldier, Zalem, was able to best the masked witch, kill her and claim her gosfets. Following this revelation, there were rumors of a secret expedition into Gallana Amon in search of more masks. Queri, a collector from Mavar, claimed the gosfet she possessed was bequeathed to her by her grandfather, who was a part of said expedition.

Masks

Properties
Properties.png
While each gosfet has its unique appearance, there are definitely similarities between them. They are all large, heavy pieces of an unknown crystal-like substance. One theory suggests that the number of eye holes reflects how many lamias had given their faces to any specific mask.    
Tenuma Abilities
Pact.png
Whether there is credibility to the legend, it is certain that 'true gosfets' hold incredible magical powers that are only accessible to those the masks deem worthy. Aside from multiplying the potency of a lamia's Tenuma, they are known to give their user access to the 'dream realm', drawing a unique power tied to their gosfet. Some rare humans are said to be worthy of giving their face to Lomot and gain her influence.

   
Xusfia8.png

   
Letter.png

Collectors

 
Leave now, human. I will not sell it to you. It could lead to your death... or mine
— A Damuri's warning
  With the discovery of their hidden potential, the lamia masks' popularity increased significantly across the human kingdom. Various - and often opposing - factions went to great lengths to acquire as many 'true' gosfets as possible.

Asfa Collectors
A guild mainly consisting of aristocrats and nobles. These collectors have always pursued remarkable objects, from lost heirlooms to gosfets and even the gods' artifacts. When word spreads about any item of interest, one can expect the guild to send their men after it, or at the very least, fund others to do the same. The acquired pieces are then either stored away in a vault or sold to the Immortal Museum.
Immortal Museum
Founded during the first century of the mortal age, the Immortal Museum commemorates any and all pieces from the bygone endless era. Since the connection was made between the gosfets and their granted immortality, the museum has happily received and displayed them alongside other artifacts. In 512, agents of Marevet broke into the museum and stole all the gosfets. For the first time in the museum's history, it was forced to close down for a day.

Marevet
The secret lamia organization is known to pull no stops when it comes to the interest of witches. Gosfets hold greater significance to them than most other things, as they are willing to cross dangerous lines and burn political bridges in order to retrieve the masks. When attempting to obtain a gosfet, there is the risk of running into an agent of the organization.
Heofonists
The Movement for the Restoration of Heofones Gates, founded by Zalem, is a heinous cult that has sought the expulsion of lamias from the land of Album since the great exile. When the importance of the masks came to light, Heofonists aimed to destabilize the lamia communities by executing their Damurim and taking their masks as trophies.

Church of the Black Zombie
Followers of the Great Black Pillar, Xusfia of the Hidden Covenant, have shown interest in the masks more than once. Their reasons remain a mystery.
Temple of the Golden One
Worshipers of Za'haph seek to acquire and destroy all artifacts belonging to any of the other nine gods, for it is seen as heresy. Gosfets are no exception.
     
Fake Vs. Real
 
Human gosfet.png
"Is this gosfet real or fake?"
"It is something in between"
— Underground artifact transaction
  Album has seen a saturation of gosfet-like masks circulating in all corners of the kingdom. Some replicas show incredible detail and are sometimes hard to tell apart from the true ones. Though - even with fakes - the value of the mask is higher the older it is. Zaier, a wealthy art dealer, made his name by selling pieces perfectly resembling gosfets such as Majesty Dark and Frost Dame. The masks even retained some magical potency. It was only later revealed he fabricated the masks using human skulls coated with shroud from Gallana Amon.   It is said that every collector - as experienced as they may be - has fallen for a replica at least once. Some resort to buying their own manufactured masks at a high cost for a good price reference.





Famed Gosfets

Masks 3.png
     
"Green Grin"
Spirit: Melatoneramishas
Owner: Lyxia the Grin Witch   Belonged to one of history's most famous witches. Lyxia's Green Grin is believed to have been the face of Melaton, the lamia who created the sleeping trees of Gallana Amon. When worn by Lyxia, it had the ability to induce sleep accompanied by pleasant dreams. The victims of the spell would often smile - hence the name. After Lyxia's affair with a human man led to her execution, the mask was claimed by the crown and passed to the hand of a nobleman. Unaware of the risks, the man tried on the mask and was rendered blind by it. It was then sold off to the Immortal Museum, before being stolen by Marevet.
Masks 2.png
     
"Frost Dame"
Spirit: Keralotifitsk
Owner: Giva the Glaze Witch   Belonged to Giva, the witch who is blamed for the Sea Terror Incident that turned the southern coastal line of the kingdom into the Ghastly Coast. Frost Dame's power was shown to be a terrifying explosion of anti-life icy substance that kills all organic matter it comes into contact with. The mask was thought to have been lost for centuries, until an expedition to Haso Phsheli managed to unearth the gosfet. All members of the expeditions disappeared in the days following the discovery, along with the mask.
Masks 1.png
   
"Lost Jester"
Spirit: Shimavia
Owner: Bonix the Artifice Witch   There are no records as to the life of the witch Bonix, yet her gosfet achieved great renown in Album as the most popular design among artists and fabricators. It is unknown what draws so many to Lost Jester. Still, its replicas are virtually identical to the original and possess the ability to replicate inanimate objects that their wearers directly view. Several people claim theirs is the original and even Marevet is unsure if the one they claimed is the one.
Masks 4.png
     
"Heart Shred"
Spirit: Xivjoazaki
Owner: Mola the Lust Witch   Mola has been known to have numerous sexual partners and hundreds of admirers, men and women alike. Much of this is attributed to Heart Shred, which can give its owner the ability to 'satisfy' all who they view through it. Mola was executed - along with seven other Damurim - by Heofonists during the Nights of the Drunken Blight. Her mask was taken by the cult and used by one of its highest-ranking commanders.
     
"Majesty Dark"
Spirit: ??????
Owner: ????????   IT BRINGS THE NIGHT ~ IT BRINGS THE NIGHT ~ IT BRINGS THE NIGHT ~
IT BRINGS THE NIGHT ~ IT BRINGS THE NIGHT ~ IT BRINGS THE NIGHT ~
IT BRINGS THE NIGHT ~ IT BRINGS THE NIGHT ~ IT BRINGS THE NIGHT ~
IT BRINGS THE NIGHT ~ IT BRINGS THE NIGHT ~ IT BRINGS THE NIGHT ~
IT BRINGS THE NIGHT ~ IT BRINGS THE NIGHT ~IT BRINGS THE NIGHT ~
Masks 6.png
   
"Arch Light"
Spirit: Paliknetra
Owner: Xetra the Star Witch   Arch Light, 'the mask that could bring down the stars', was able to summon constellations from the plain of Lomot. Through it, Xetra navigated the paths of the mortal realm. It was unclear how it worked, as she only described it as 'choosing the perfect path to walk'. In battle, Xetra would make exact and smooth movements, defeating her opponents in a marvelous dance. The one and last time she suffered a defeat was when she faced Retza Frekter. Making a wrong move for the first time, Xetra left herself exposed to Frekter's attack that shattered her Arch Light and the top of her head with it.


Cover image: Album Cover by Yurii & rikia

Comments

Author's Notes

The illustrations of the masks were done by the ever-amazing Yurii, and edited for color and effects by rikia (myself)


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29 Apr, 2021 08:36

Aaah so first of all, masks!! God I loved reading that article so much, it was fascinating. So, as usual- time to get some extensive feedback going! Also quick note- I really love the word "gosfet" all around, where does it come from?

Intro: A good, clear overview of what the article is about! I liked that you included music, it worked really nicely with the rest of the article.

Origin: I'm a big fan of the legend of the Faces of Lomot. I have to admit though I'm curious as to how the actions of the younger child are viewed, and at large how taking the faces of loved ones is viewed by lamias and non-lamias.

Introduction to Album: Don't have much to say for this section- its clear, well written.

Art: I loved this section! It was interesting to read about an aspect of lamia culture that people seemingly admired rather than feared, and also a little unexpected considering I tend to find masks a little unsettling (part of why I love them). The quote is very interesting, mostly because I'm not 100% sure how the phrase "a true gosfet of a woman" is meant to be interpreted.

War: Uuuugh I hate Zalem, what a dick (an understatement I know). I think a little tooltip on what Sleep-Demons are could be nice, but also not necessary.

Sidebar: I love your sidebar so much! The use of documents to provide another type of quotes and additional information is really amazing, and especially the way you use them to almost tell stories just ugh. Huge fan.

Collectors: This is a really interesting section overall! I wasn't expecting such a big focus on them at the start of the article but considering your world it makes a lot of sense, and its a very interesting way of illustrating all the factions that might come into conflict. Quick typo I spotted- "significantly Across humans"

Fake vs Real: Oh boy thats grim. I love that even in sections like this you manage to bring in new elements like fake masks being made from skulls (like damn). The fact that these gain a worth of their own is not only interesting but also makes a lot of sense! I wonder if following that discovery it was made illegal to make forgeries (or if it always was).

Famed Gosfet: Ah damn the layout of this section is just *chefs kiss*! I love the inclusion of a little history section for each mask, and the fact that most are unaccounted for just makes me want to harass you (in a good way) so you write a book about them, so that I can read it :')

Overall Design: I mean what to say, your layout is great and easy to read, the masks are just sublime (kudos to you and Yurii), the notes and documents are just amazing (Oh right! One thing I might suggest is finding a way to include a written transcript for those who might have trouble reading the documents- either because pics wont load or because they cant read them well).

Author of Arda Almayed - check out my SummerCamp articles here!
30 Apr, 2021 17:51

Amazing feedback! Thank you for taking the time. Hope you enjoyed reading the article as much as I enjoyed writing it. Looking forward to the next exchange ~  

I really love the word "gosfet" all around, where does it come from?
That's actually a word constructed from my Xivi conlang. I used the three ideograms of 'face, 'mercy' & 'hidden' to spell the word.  
I have to admit though I'm curious as to how the actions of the younger child are viewed, and at large how taking the faces of loved ones is viewed by lamias and non-lamias.
That has less to do with gosfets, so I excluded it from this article. It is definitely an important part of the lamia lore that will be expanded in future articles.
The quote is very interesting, mostly because I'm not 100% sure how the phrase "a true gosfet of a woman" is meant to be interpreted.
Well, the quote talks about 'lust for the flesh' and 'unknown depths', which the Albian author relates to the gosfet. Though, it might not have been clear.
Uuuugh I hate Zalem, what a dick
Ooh just you wait hehe
I think a little tooltip on what Sleep-Demons are could be nice, but also not necessary.
They don't serve any purpose other than just examples for a gosfet's power, so I didn't bother expanding on it (the Damuri herself is not even mentioned by name).
I wonder if following that discovery it was made illegal to make forgeries (or if it always was).
Yeah, I wonder as well hehe.
One thing I might suggest is finding a way to include a written transcript
Done! Great idea btw. I added a hover tooltip for each document pic.


Let us unite against the enemies of Album!
29 Apr, 2021 14:23

The top image actually made me jump when it changed.   Really fascinating article. I love that you've included the history and legend of the masks, and all the little notes scattered around the article.

30 Apr, 2021 17:52

Oh wow really? I actually delayed the transition to catch readers off-guard, so I'm delighted to hear it worked on you. It's supposed to be a part of the article's charm.   Happy you liked the article, thank you so much for reading!


Let us unite against the enemies of Album!
Grandmaster AzounIV
Luca Poddighe
4 May, 2021 17:21

Impressive article! The artwork is very appealing and neat. The history is enticing and I liked very much the touch of the two letters on the side bar. Excellent!

Transform your quirks, in your strength! Join the revolution and visit Phaldorya (Eng)
Grandmaster AzounIV
Luca Poddighe
4 May, 2021 17:24

Just now I have noticed the hover effect on the two letters and on the books. In the first letter tooltip, there's an ater that should be spelt after.

Transform your quirks, in your strength! Join the revolution and visit Phaldorya (Eng)
4 May, 2021 17:44

Thank you for reading! I'm glad you found it interesting.   The two letters are a hint to something in the future, so it's nice you noticed it.   I fixed the typo, thank you!


Let us unite against the enemies of Album!
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
6 May, 2021 09:57

This is a very pretty article :D I really love the look and outlay and how the mask in the sidebar is animated. I love the bloody anecdotes XD The writing on the books look good and the mouse hover makes it easy to read, this is a great idea.   I ass lots of questions of things that intrigued me while reading, I'm just adding them here if you want ideas on things to add or explore next:   Can you add paragraph break inside mouse hover snippet? That would make the "dear prof Grenel" one easier to read. Or put the bottom piece in a separate image and mouse-hover.   Really an amazing article :D I love how you've managed to integrate pieces of the history of your world and little anecdotes everywhere and all the example of masks at the end to add a concrete touch and explain the anecdotes more :D   Is one way to determine which one is the real mask not to force someone to wear it? If they die that would prove the power of the mask, would it not? Or people don't do that because of the risk that the mask will accept that person?   Can the persons who wear the mask ever take it off once they've worn it once? Does something happen to their face once they wear it? For now I'm taking the "give their face to the god" rather literally :p   Do the masks prefer Lamias over humans? You mentioned that Heart Shred was used by the human who stole it, so I'm guessing humans can use the magic of the mask too. Can they use it to its full potential?   Do the spirits in the masks communicate with their wearers? If so, why do they think about their face being carved out like that? Are they annoyed at their whole spirit or their attention being taken away from where they are (presumably with the gods or in the after life?)?   Can new masks still be created by the lamias? Can they do that by craving the face of any dead lama or does it work only with those that have crystalised after using the mask? What is the risk of crystallisation – does it increase the more you wear the mask or use the magic inside of it? Do the lamas have the choice to refuse it and not join with the god if they have things left to do?

To see what I am up to:WE pledge and article list.