Dark Moon Rising
aka the Mad Hatter
His body has grown wiry from stress and use. His black eyes hang in sickly green bags and his black hair lies in tangles. His muscles are knots, and he wears the simplest of clothing which allow him to move swiftly through the city streets. His lips occasionally curve into a delighted tendril, especially when hunting or dreaming of his “work.”
Raised on Hospice Is., Degrada grew up in some of the filthiest streets of Five Fingers, surrounded by the sick and the starving or the just plain down-and-out. Over time he came to resent his father for making Hospice his home, for his mother’s abandonment of both of them, and for never getting ahead enough to move them off that cesspool. Although Degrada was a gifted wood worker, he worked as a dockhand to earn even more coin and hopefully one day move his shop off Hospice (which he inherited).
As luck would have it, there was an accident at the loading dock one night. A crate filled with imported artifacts fell and cracked open. Degrada found the mask, which had somehow slid out and fallen away from the crate it came from. That night he took the mask home to study. It gave him new inspiration, and he decided to work on mask carving, rather than the mundane work he generally did. Soon, Madame Klivson took interest in his work and gave him a place in Braille’s Mask Emporium. As it so happens, they had an opening, and her high society friends were feeling rather bored with the usual mask designs.
Over the next year, Degrada researched the mask and found it to be much like one of the sacred masks the Forgotten Ones were said to leave for people. These masks were said to “awaken the trembling hearts of morals to their god-like connections.” They were conduits to the Forgotten Ones, and these masks allowed the Forgotten Ones touch people subtly with their holy juices. While there were originally dozens of these masks, at least, all but a few have gone missing.
Unbeknownst to Degrada, Felle, a local follower of the Forgotten Ones, had been waiting for the shipment to arrive. He had paid for a vision from a local seer, and he had painstakingly researched the arrival of the mask. Unfortunately for him, he never found out why it never reached the shore with its other cargo.
It was only several weeks ago that he caught wind of a deal which would give him the mask…sort of. Known for scrounging and gathering information, his cell of followers relied on Felle to find the mask, and that he finally did when Madame Klivson suddenly took renewed interest in her late husband. High Captain Klivson, before he died, had been in the middle of a war with the gobbers. Few people knew that he’d also been trying to get to the bottom of some kind of connection to a dangerous cult. He’d researched a mask of power, which when worn worn cause its wearer to go mad, but simultaneously it would give the wearer powers of hunting. He’d even gotten a hold of a mineral which was said to heighten the powerful effects and lessen the deleterious effects. The mineral had to be made into a paste, so in the meantime he hid the mineral in a simple, nonmagical locket he wore. It stayed with him when his plans failed and he was gibbeted for the Five Fingers fires roughly 10 years ago. When Madame Klivson took interest in his body and hired a group of mercenaries to steal the locket, Felle knew he’d once again found the mask- that Madame Klivson knew something, and he would find it through her.
And that he did. He discovered how high society members were wearing gross fakes of his beloved mask. He found out that Bartley Degrada was a dockhand on board The Pink Seashell when the mask should have arrived. And at about this time he heard about “The Mad Hatter.” Suddenly everything was clear. And soon enough he discovered Klivson’s plan to get the chalk back and use it with the mask.