Belial's Circus

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Once upon a time, before the first stylus hit a papyrus scroll, a great society thrived in what is now the Widow's Ocean. This society was not of men, no, for men were - are - weak. This society was composed of monsters, angels, demons, and those too hideous or beautiful to name. This society was ruled by one figure - Belial, Lord of cunfusion and Pride, Father of Lucifer, and King of all he surveyed. This was Belial's Court, and at the center of it was a large Palace made of ice and skulls where Belial himself resided.

Once per year, the palace was open to all, during the festival of souls, set during the winter solstice. This festival was a time for merriment, for truce, and for mourning. It was said that those who died during the festival were not reborn, as selkies were wont, or returned to their master's care, for the angels. Those who died during this festival were said to be trapped in their merriment, and one day after the festival took place, a very different festival took place. This was the time where those who had died during the festival would come back, and a breathtaking spectral gathering would take place. At the front of it all was Belial, and for him this gathering was named Belial's Circus.

Then, millenia ago, the festival and the circus stopped. The palace was wisked away, and nothing remained of the great society but ice. Legend goes that a tribe of humans stumbled upon the festival, and upon touching the palace, everything crumbled into dust.

There goes the legend anyways. Very few people believe that Belial's Court existed, and even fewer believe in the legend of its fall. What is known is that every year, one day after winter solstice, somewhere in th world a party known as Belial's circus is held. This party is always in a public place, and those who have joined in the revelry say that it was like dancing in a dream where they saw demons, angels, wherewolves, and faeries.

Last night was the longest day of the year. Perhaps you stayed inside, afraid of what lurked in the dark. Perhaps you celebrated the coming of the dawn. But today is the start of the a new year. For whatever reason you found yourself near a field outside the town of Whiteoak. You were drawn into the dancing, the singing and the drinking and you started to have a grand time. You could see numerous people, some of whom you knew, most of whom you didn't, and you started to realize something - most of the people there weren't human.

The woman playing a set of pipes had two cloven hooves, while the little guy dancing a jig had strands of seaweed in his hair and left puddles where he walked. Even the person with whom you were dancing wasn't human - the two feathered wings sprouted out of their back attested to that.

Just as you started to realize the otherworldlyness of the party, the merriment changed. Fear began to seap into your bones and at your core, you knew that from this night forward, your life would be changed.

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