King Francoise I of Carnais, blue Masked, porcelain faces in a vast array of saturated hues shot their soulless eyes in his heightened, kingly direction. He gripped the edges of the golden throne in grim anticipation under the weight of their stares with what would follow. Sitting before the court and judging those for their crimes, passing laws and watching whispers tied to the Great Jest was something the young king despised above all else. No doubt there were many in the nest of vipers that would place their fangs to his throat the moment he expressed disinterest in the duties of a ruler, so he intended on playing the role of the benevolent monarch over a chaotic pit of injustice, but for once he was grateful for the custom of the king's golden mask and darkened eyes. They were visible to him, and he was but a shadow among the masses reigning over them all. There is not a piece of my body they can see, he continually reminded himself. I am my own. I do not belong to them. It brought Francoise great comfort to know that all who laid eyes on the King of Carnais would be oblivious to the body within, much less the frown that constantly settled on his lips. It would not do for his people to believe he so hated his position. There were many who would kill for the opportunity to shape a great nation such as his. I simply wish I had a better nation to shape. "Your Most Eminent Grace," came the voice of the King's Herald, a frump man in a harlequin mask standing at the foot of Francoise's great jeweled seat. "I hereby announce the opening of the Drunken Farmer case. When we approached the lecherous man's home on the outskirts, he offered us payment for his debts in the most...bizarre way." "Bizarre?" "Yes, Majesty. I believe you will see when we bring it forward." The Herald gestured to the throne room's ever-intimidating set of grandiose ruby doors, which swung open on cue, and the figure of a woman was dragged by chains into view. Beautiful blonde locks and blue eyes were covered in the dirt and grime and horrors of her travels, and the court gasped to see a naked face brought so openly before the king's court. Some might consider it an insult. Immediately, Francoise leaned forward and his face was smothered in a disgust nobody could see. The Imperial Guards shoved the woman on her knees before the throne of her king. "What is the meaning of this?!" "The drunk wished to pay his debts with his daughter, Your Graciousness." "And you let him?" "Well, I--I--" "Enough." The irritation was laced in Francoise's voice. That was the tricky thing about court--expressions could not be read through the masks. It was all in the sounds of one's voice, their body's mannerisms. It made playing the Great Jest that much harder. "Monetary value is what the crown needs, not a girl." "We can return her to her father if it please you--" "No, don't." He waved a dismissive hand. "It's alright. I could find some use for her, but we will need his money eventually or he can pay his debts with his life." Curiously, the monarch leaned forward on his cushioned throne and examined the girl with eyes she could not see. A beauty, he thought against his will. Faces were not beautiful in Carnais--masks were what people fell in love with, but in the case of this farmer's daughter Francoise was quite intrigued. "Do you have any skills, my dear?" he asked, folding his hands in his lap. "We could put you to use here." Around him, the court began to buzz.