By Aaron Sunshine
In the untamed wilds between Dream and Nightmare, deep in the Forest of Lies, the Court of Masks broods like an unspoken dread. Once renowned for its dark grandeur, its sorcery and intrigue, and most of all for its masked revels, the Court is now cut off from the world.
It is said that it began with a masquerade: The Silver Queen of the Court, whose name has been forgotten, held a masked ball to rival all those which had come before. Rumor of its opulence (or decadence, as some would now have it) spread far and wide, and notables from across the realms of Dream and Waking came to see it for themselves. But as the giddy festivities whirled on and on, the flow of news from the Court of Masks gradually dwindled, until at last it ceased altogether. Messengers failed to return. Champion after champion vowed to enter the Court and save those within from whatever had befallen them, but each one was swallowed up in turn. The years passed and the number of heroes mad or foolish enough to take on the quest dwindled. Vines and time crept over the crumbling towers and ramparts, and the Court, while not quite forgotten, became a taboo subject, a stain on the honor of the worlds best ignored.
Yet here you are, standing on the threshold of the Court of Masks, its ruined gates yawning before you like the maw of some slumbering beast. Whatever madness, desperation, or bravado brought you here, after a long and dangerous journey you have finally arrived. There are others here as well, all preparing to take the same final step as you and plunge into the unknown. Will you find what you seek, or succumb to whatever fate befell all who have come before you? Step over the threshold, and find out.