Title: The Mask of Misunderstood Women
Synopsis: A clan of mountain people have among them certain users of magic. Pa'en (pronounced like the word "pain" if it were two syllables) is a user of "feeling-memory" magic. From his induction into manhood, he's recognized as a full-fledged user of his particular magic and receives the magician's suffix on his name, becoming Pa'en-jinn. Pa'en-jinn is a mask-maker. He makes the masks for the Feeling Faces ceremony. Every year a certain mask is made to represent a position of male leadership/function/occupation within the clan. Pa'en-jin creates the mask out of clay and then pours into it the empathy (feelings) and memories he collects from the man or men whose function or occupation is being observed. More than one person's feelings can go into making a Feeling Face. There's masks called "Mask of Farmers," "Mask of Clan Chiefs (into it the each clan chief's life is poured in after Pa'en collects it from a dying chief), etc. Pa'en is only one of a long line of mask makers. Pa'en also takes masks to outlying villagers when people have need of them. A farmer might want to feel or access the Farmer's Mask if he's forgotten something that a farmer whose memories have gone into the mask might have known. It's complicated, I know. I'm trying to world-build as I go. I'm open to ideas about masks, world-building, etc. I've only just begun outlining and thinking about this story.
The women of the clan have long been ignored by the society, even though they hold important functions within the clan and some of them are also magic users with important occupations in the clan (Pa'en's grandmother is a healer). The women have been petitioning the clan chiefs and mask makers for a many decades since the opening of the story to finally have masks made for them. Pa'en, whose father died when he was a boy, has been under the influence of the three women in his household (mother, sister, grandmother--the Elder Mother or Elderess) and they have given him much to think about, and much grief, too. He looks forward to leaving the village on errands so as not to "feel their disappointment like a heaving sheet of sorrowful rain."
Will he decide to go against the clan chief and make the mask for the clan's women?
What will happen when he starts collecting the feelings and memories of the clan's women, for too long use to use, abuse, and neglect?
That's what I hope to explore in this story. I feel like this is the one story I absolutely need to put out in the world before I shrug off this mortal coil.
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