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Masquerade [Ready]

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Name: Masquerade

 

Sex: Male

 

Age: Stallion

 

Species: Unicorn

 

Eye Colour: Lemon Yellow (#FFFF66)

 

Coat: Light Orange (#FF9966), half way down his legs the colour fades slowly to white at the fetlocks.

 

Mane/Tail: Blue (#0099D3) and White wavy mane that is often kept combed down the middle, which causes the waves to frame his face in an almost heart shape. His tail is the same in colour and rather long, long enough to drag on the ground though more often than not it’s kept tied up to keep it from doing so.

 

Physique: About average height. A slight amount of pudge due to the lax nature of his line of work.

 

Residence: Ponyville, Formerly Canterlot

 

Occupation: Magic Costume Shop Owner.

 

Cutie Mark: An elaborate blue and silver masquerade mask with ribbons and frill.

 

Unique Traits:

Master Seamster: Since his youth, Masquerade has spent countless hours perfecting his craft. Not only has this allowed his costumes to appear completely seamless, but to also reach an almost uncanny valley of realism! Especially when worn, one would be hard pressed to tell the difference between the real deal and a Masquerade original. Your best bet is to look for the slight hint of a zipper along the belly or back, often hidden by a flap! After all, you need some way to get out of the costume!

Masque of Holding: Every one of his costumes is one size fits all! And by that, he means one costume can fit any size pony. One of the first enchantments he always puts on a costume is one to make the inside easily fit any wearer. With in reason that is. You won’t see an adult dragon sneakily slipping into a foal costume! This is caused by what he refers to as a ‘pocket dimension’. While not exactly the same as a true pocket dimension, this creates a space within the costume that expands to fit whoever wears it, without ‘overfilling’ the costume or making it bulge strangely!

Costumification!: A spell of his own make, made after a long stint studying sewing and magic techniques abroad, Masquerade can turn just about anything or anyone into a costume! Being his signature spell and having spent many years perfecting it, it’s easy for him to cast at a whim, but still takes a good deal of energy to cast and as of yet he’s unable to cast it more than thrice in succession. The spell is temporary in nature, lasting at most a week and is rarely ever used except in self-defensive circumstances or when a customer doesn’t want to pay the rental fees with bits or labor he’s more than happy to add a limited-time costume to his stock if they wish!

 

You Are What You Wear: Another spell that Masquerade uses, while not of his own creation is adjusted to suit his needs. Rarely a customer turns out to be little more than a thief who wants to get a free costume for some nefarious purpose or another. In an effort to dissuade this sort of behavior, Masq places an enchantment on all of his costumes at the time of rental, as well as on each costume when he closes up shop for the evening. Three days after the rental time has expired, the costume when worn will begin to put out mental suggestions, causing the wearer to begin to think of themselves as whatever the costume is, and begin to act accordingly. After another three days pass, they’ll be compelled to return to the costume shop where Masquerade will take the costume and inform the authorities if need be. This is done as a lesson to would be thieves and more often than not he’ll allow someone to get away with it once. Sometimes, after all, accidents do happen and ponies lose track of time.

 

History: Born to not one but two Canterlot clothiers, Masquerade was thrust into the whirlwind world of thread, needles, skeins, and fabric from birth. For as long as he can remember he was studying the art of his parents. His mother often worked for stage productions, creating the outfits and fabric props that play houses and theaters required. While his father worked more on finery and haberdashery, making fanciful clothes for parties and galas and the like. Young Masq became a common sight both backstage with his mother and working a sewing machine in his father’s store.

From a young age Masquerade was sure where his talent lay. The same line of work as his parents, sewing! He was excellent at it and got many compliments on his work, but the one thing that always eluded him was his cutie mark. The colt was certain that this was his destiny. What else could it be? It truly baffled and discouraged him greatly. It wasn’t until a certain play took stage in Canterlot that something clicked for the colt. The stage play called for costumes, dragon costumes. The usual dragon actors were out of town but the show had to go on! The ones that his mother crafted were amazing as usual, but they seemed...off.

 

The costumes while great and certainly enough for the play, didn’t seem very realistic. He hadn’t met many dragons but he was fairly certain there weren’t any with cloth scales or fabric wings, and while making costumes out of the real thing was not only out of the question but crazy, surely one could come up with a reasonable facsimile that could pass for the real thing, even if only slightly. It was with this thought in mind that Masquerade sat to work experimenting with different fabrics, stitchings, dyes. The process took many weeks, and just as many if not more failures before success, and what a success it was!

 

What he had produced, while not nearly at the level of what he makes today, was a work of art in its own right. One he made looked rather real, but still felt like cloth and fabric rather than scales and ridges, and the other looked rather average but felt akin to the scaley texture of a dragon. It was far from perfect, but it was good enough to earn him his cutie mark and set the path for a future he was always certain he was destined for even if the how eluded him for so long.

 

One thing did bother him though. In his quest to make the costumes as realistic as he could, he realized that the size absolutely was...Meaning your average pony wouldn’t be able to fit into it! And what good would a costume of a dragon do a dragon? Keeping this in mind, when Masq poured himself into books on sewing and fabric craft, so too did he grab books on magic. Perhaps, he thought, if the costume could alter the wearer’s size! But so many of those spells were far too complex or impractical to craft into an enchantment. One however seemed like it might just work. Usually reserved for things like high end carrying cases or purses that the rich and famous carried around, a sort of ‘pocket dimension’ spell, it could make things made out of fabric hold far more than it rightfully should, without appearing over full and unsightly.

 

With some study and modification to the spell, along with stitching a few runes inside the lining of the costume to aid it, Masquerade was able to make a ‘pocket’ inside of the costume that would fit the wearer snugly inside costumes normally many sizes too small for them, while on the outside appearing as though worn by someone the perfect size! From there his focus was able to shift towards making the costumes more and more realistic, not just in looks but in feel as well. While magic wasn’t his forte, he poured every ounce of study and effort he could muster into it. It took many years but his final products would come out feeling just as real as real life, and looking for all intents and purpose just as real. The only giveaway was the zippers, which was mostly resolved by a flap of fabric that could be smoothed over it to hide it away.

 

But with his methods practically perfected, Masquerade was uncertain of how to best take advantage of it. With all of the enchantments and special fabrics and time and effort put into each costume, only the richest of the rich would be able to afford them! Which wasn’t ideal to the now young stallion, he wanted them to be in reach for anyone who wanted them. After much thought and a discussion with his parents, it was decided that a rental option was the best bet! This proved to be true, and soon more than a few ponies lined up to the door of his newly opened shop. At first to find out just what it was, and soon after to try out the magical costumes. This continued for a good deal of time, with return customers for a while. But in a city like Canterlot where ‘The Thing’ can change at the drop of a hat, and what’s hot sells, eventually business started to dry up.

 

Instead of letting this completely discourage him, Masquerade decided to take the money he had earned and travel the world. To learn whatever he could, find inspiration for new, more elaborate or exotic costumes. His travels to him to everywhere from Whitescar to Saddle Arabia, from Unyasi to Long Guo and beyond. Every place was just as inspiring, he even managed to open up shop occasionally for a short period of time here and there. It was one night in Neighpon that Masquerade was struck with inspiration, one that lead to what he counts among his crowning achievements. A thought that crossed his mind as a colt once again crossed his mind. Making costumes out of the real thing. Never once did it occur to him back then that instead of using the parts to use the whole! It would certainly be a niche sort of thing, if it were even possible. After much digging and studying and reading, the stallion really found little of use. A few spells for making pelts softer and fluffier, but nothing that he was really looking for.

 

Masq was never much of a spell slinger. His talent laid in his costume making skills. But this was something that drove the stallion to learn. Altering spells already made like he had with the pocket dimension one was a fairly simple matter, but creating your own spells was not an easy matter by any means. He didn’t know where to begin, but he knew where to begin to learn where to begin. His destination: The Imperial Academy in Long Guo. One of the most prestigious magic focused schools in the world. Completing the entry exam into the Academy proved quite difficult, but preparation and determination found Masquerade entry into the hallowed halls of learning. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming, but his studies proved to be rigorous, far more difficult than he had original anticipated.

 

Never one to give up easily though, the stallion kept at it. Spending days late into the evening studying or discussing his ideas with peers and professors alike. No two had the exact same advice for Masquerade, every little bit of theory helped, but nothing could advance without practice. At the suggestion of a professor, the unicorn sat about crafting a smaller version of the spell to start from the ground up, rather than reaching to grasp the stars first. It was many months of work and more than a few headaches (and in one extreme case a blackout from exhaustion) before he had a breakthrough. A stone he had been practicing on had finally turned from rock...to plush. It wasn’t quite what he had aimed for, but it was just the groundwork he needed to start from!

 

From this – no pun intended – cornerstone, Masquerade worked to alter and tweak the performance of the spell. It needed to be perfected on the inanimate before he could ever let himself think of asking a living volunteer to be a test subject. The costume made from the spell had to be just as good as the ones he crafted from hoof, he put too much effort in already to just be satisfied with adequate. After months of toil and study though, the stallion was finally able to get the spell behaving just how he wanted. The rock which he had continued practicing on felt just as hard and rough as the real thing, even as it lay there flat against the ground. The zipper slid open with ease and, although it was much too small to fully wear, Masq was able to slide a foreleg the whole way inside without a bulge or tear! For days after that he moved his practice on to mannequins, something that was shaped like a living creature to test on. That way if he tried the costume on, he wouldn’t end up stuck in something ridiculous like a lamp or table until someone could help. What a nightmare that would be.

 

Now that his spell, and how strange it felt to say that. His spell, one he made!...Now that it was made and ready to show the professors and his peers, he wheeled his set of test mannequins into an auditorium and showed the fruits of his labours. Most were quite impressed while others were just as equally confused. Not because they thought it impossible, but because it was simply something they had never really considered before. All in all though the demonstration was a success. Some of the faculty tried the costumes that the stallion had made, both by hoof and by spell, and found little difference between the two save a magical signature on the latter. What came as a surprise to Masquerade though, was when one of his professors had volunteered to be a live test subject. The qilin mare, Fēizhàng,  had always been one of the more...hooves on sort of professors, and from what he recalled there was more than one occasion where her lab had mysteriously (according to her) caught fire for ‘no reason’. So it wasn’t too big of a surprise.

Masquerade of course admitted his reluctance and nervousness over testing on a live subject, to which the professor said something along the lines of ‘Shut up and costume me you nerd’. She’d always been his favourite teacher. With his volunteer in place and the rest of the audience back in their seats, the stallion worked the spell again as Fēizhàng stayed still with her usual confident stance. With the crackling of magic and a brief *POP* of golden light, her form crumpled against the ground, as a costume would. Even though they all knew what was going to happen, there were still a few surprised gasps and concerned mumbling through the audience. None of course would match the inner worry of the stallion performing the demonstration.

 

Regardless though, he pressed on. Sliding into the now ‘costumed’ Fēizhàng, Masquerade cleared his throat as he zipped up and spoke...Much to his surprise in the mare’s own voice. That would be disorienting but proved one of his theories at least. Pressing on with the demonstration, Masquerade showed that while in the costume one had easy access to the ‘costumed’ skills. Breathing out a gout of fire magic from their maw for emphasis. So long as one understood the workings of said skill. For all intents and purposes, you were the pony that was the costume, just with your mind instead of theirs! Once everything was said and done, Masquerade removed the costume and worked the counterspell across the professor. Who, with another *POP* of light, stumbled on the stage a bit before shaking her head to clear it.

 

The qilin described the feeling as watching something through a viewfinder or a second sight spell. You’re watching what is going on, can feel everything that’s happening, but it’s out of your control. Both a very interesting and slightly disconcerting feeling, but not one she would count as dangerous. Masquerade was thankful that everything had went as smoothly as it did, that fact alone bolstered his confidence immensely. The long term effects of being a costume still had to be tested, but that would wait for a deal of time, as the stallion still had the rest of his studies to finish before he graduated.

 

While far from a magical genius, the hard work, dedication, and determination that he showed along with creating his own spell from scratch, earned Masquerade a graduation with honors. After the graduation ceremony and an impromptu party hosted by some of the students and faculty, Fēizhàng approached Masquerade with the offer to test out the long term effects that he seemed so worried about. To which the stallion asked ‘Are you crazy?’. Of course Fēizhàng didn’t confirm or deny this, just simply said she was a risk taker and that he seemed smart enough to fix something if it went wrong. Even if he couldn’t, she continued, someone at the Academy easily could. With her insistence, and making sure to let some of the other professors know what was going on, Masq worked the spell once more with the same effect as last time. He was thankful it wasn’t just some sort of lucky fluke.

 

For a week Masquerade went about his business in Long Guo, sometimes in costume, sometimes out. It was always strange having to act like someone you weren’t, but years spent helping his mother in the theater taught the stallion everything he really needed to know. Once the week was up, and the spell undone, Fēizhàng stood blankly, staring into space. Masquerade started to panic, had something went wrong? Had the spell screwed up somehow? It wasn’t until the mare joking lunged at him – nearly scaring his soul from his body to be sure – that she revealed it as just a prank. That she was fine, albeit bored a lot of the time when not being worn. When one can’t move for so long, it gets dreadfully dull. But she couldn’t feel any adverse side effects, much to Masq’s relief.

 

With everything sorted and squared away, Masquerade finally felt ready to return home to Equestria. Perhaps Canterlot wasn’t the greatest place to set up shop, where flights of fancy carried the fashion whims, but with the resurgence of interest in Nightmare Night sweeping the country after the return of Princess Luna, maybe another shot was in order. With bags packed and farewell said, as well as promises to visit again sometime, Masquerade boarded a ship back to Equestria.

 

Once back on his home shore, the very first thing he did was...Immediately take a nap at the nearest hotel because boat rides are very very long. But the second thing he did was return to Canterlot to visit his family and regale them with tales of his travels that the letters he sent them simply could not do justice. After his happy little reunion with his parents and family was taken care of, Masquerade had a choice to make. The shop he once owned in Canterlot was once again empty, he could easily purchase the store again and open up shop. But how long would that last? Or he could find a new locale to start, a smaller one where he could test the waters before shooting for the stars again.

With his mind made up and his bags packed again, Masquerade set out for Ponyville! It was a small town, but busy enough to work. Especially since the Princess of Friendship herself lived there. The building he purchased would double not only as his store, but his home as well. It took him sometime to think up a decent name, but eventually he decided on Fantastic Façade. He was certain with the new found love of Nightmare Night, the store would be a hit! After all, who wouldn’t want to be someone else for a little while?

 

Character Summary/Personality: Masquerade is the owner of a costume shop, specializing in magical costumes that near anypony can fit into! They fit like a glove, look and feel like the real thing, and even let you do things that normally you couldn’t! The effort and materials used to make them would cause them to be far too expensive for anypony to really buy, so instead he rents them out for fair prices based on a customer’s income. If a pony can’t afford the bits, he’s more than happy to let the work in the shop to pay for the price, or if they’re the more adventurous sort become a costume for a time!

A friendly and rather upbeat sort of pony, Masquerade does his best to help anyone be happy and entertained on both a personal level as well as a customer. While he always seems to be busy tending to a new costume or another, he’ll always try to make time to chat or help a customer if need be. Outside of the shop he’s just as neighborly and is currently in the process of trying to get to know his new neighbors in Ponyville.

 

Text Colour: (#0099D3)

 

Poison Joke Reaction: TBD

 

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