Surfacers' masks Item in The Call of The Tree | World Anvil

Surfacers' masks

The first face one will see when encountering someone on The Surface layers is their mask. While someone coming from the lower layers might notice the similarities between the masks of the members of the same tribe, there is much more to them. In fact, those who can "read" the masks are often capable of recognizing not only one's tribe, but their age, profession, their achievements, and sometimes even their names.  

The materials

Depending on the region and accessible materials, the mask can be made out of wood, clay, metal, and even cloth. While the materials might vary, the shapes and the way the masks are adorned varies between each of the tribes.  

Secret meanings of masks

Aside from the oldest masks which were created shortly after the Awakening, most of the masks are specially crafted for their wearers. These are the ways the masks reveal the information about its wearer.
  • Tribe - Each tribe creates its mask in their own way. In a way, the masks represent the tribes and become one of their symbols.
  • Age - While no one knows their real age both their estimated age and the year the mask was created can be found on its surface. It may vary, but in most cases, the age of the wearer rounded to tens is represented by round ridges in the mask on both sides of the nose and going upwards above eyebrows, while the year of the creation is represented by long narrow ridges. Tens are represented by creating "X"s.
  • Profession - Depending ib their daily job, the shapes of masks can take on different forms. For example, any jobs requiring a good sight, such as being a scout or one of Stargazers, will bear masks with big, but still protective, eye slits to not impair distances at which they can see. On the other hand, anyone dealing with The Beasts, their strong jaws, and, in some cases, acid spit will wear a reinforced mask with smaller eyes.
  • Achievements - Each great achievement is symbolically recorded on the mask by "tattooing" it on its surface with the inks mixed with Beast Oils.
  Having all those info on someone, one might easily recognize people about which the stories were spread around The Surface layers.
Item type
Clothing / Accessory
Current Location
Related ethnicities

Masks of outsiders

When someone rents the gear needed to survive on The Surface, they are given standard, blank masks, making them easily recognizable to Surfacers. Even the few that decide to make the masks by themselves will be seen as outsiders by everyone.
It is only when they prove their worth, the tribe leaders might gift them with a specially crafted mask that will rightly represent them.  

One of many faces

Once in a while, one might encounter someone who adorns their clothes with multiple masks. In most cases, it might mean one of two things. First, they might have killed many people to obtain their masks. Second, they might have befriended many tribes and simply get gifted them. In this case, those people are often asked to contact the tribes they know in case of the gatherings. Sadly, unless one belongs to one of the tribes the masks they wear, it is hard to recognize which type of person they are.

Cover image: Call of the Tree by Revyera


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