"Pick a mask, pick any one you wish!" The shopkeeper sung. He whirled around, crouching to meet the height of a little girl, from his jacket he pulled a mask of a deku scrub, "How about this, little one? Or-" the mask of a zora man's face appeared into his hands and he put it close to the girl's face. Her mother quickly pulled her away. The keeper laughed and turned on his heel to survey the crowd circled around him.
His blue eyes locked onto a man whose own set of eyes watched the masks with fascination.
"Good sir! I see youre interest in my wares," his smile turned dark as he slinked over to him, "Would you, by any chance," he held out the mask of the zora to him, "wish to try on of my masks?" The man's eyes found the keeper's and he reached hesitantly for the mask.
The people murmured their shared gossip of the keeper's wares.
"I've heard the masks take their master's souls!" A young girl whispered to another.
"They say the masks are bound to you..." A man muttered to his wife.
The man, hearing the chatter quickly pulled away from the keeper. The keeper laughed and walked around the rim of people, holding the mask close to them. Some leaned back in fear, other scuttled away from the circle entirely. A woman's cry of fear pierced the crowd. The keeper chuckled and threw the mask up in the air.
"Who here has the courage to wear this mask of a fallen Zora!" He caught the mask and held it up to his face, looking it in the eyes, "The mask of a man who died unfulfilled, his last breath floating out to a woman in... distress." His smiled widened, and he lowered the mask. His eyes found the piercing gaze of an older gentleman "Or do you wish to have the mask of a child of the forest, his sickened, distraught gaze still present in our very woods."
A voice rung through the crowd, and from behind the keeper, a man stepped through the crowd, "I'll wear it."
The keeper turned around, and held out the mask of the zora to him.
"No." The man pointed to the keeper's hip, to a heart-shaped mask with eyes that stared blankly in the distance. The keeper laughed and turned from the man.
"You're too ambitious little one. Why not wear the mask of the boy?" He chided.
"Little one? I'm but double your age!"
The keeper's smile sunk into a smirk. He turned to see the man.
"I've lived two lifetimes, lived the life of a child and child of a man, only now to have been a man of a child, and a man of a man. So," he slinked to the man, "You must tell me who is the... little one."
"You." He accused with confidence, though he backed up until corned between the keeper and the crowd. The keeper grinned and lifted the mask up, grabbing the man's arm tight. The man's eyes became feral as he struggled, looking through the mask in terror.
The keeper pushed it onto his face and the man screamed as if in agony. The crowd gasped, someone burst into tears, children were rushed from the scene, and guards closed in upon the group, watching in a sick fascination to the scene before them... though there was nothing more than fear in the keeper's show.
He pulled the mask from the man's face, no difference, or transformation present. His soul in tact, though his dignity gone as his tears rolled down his face.
The keeper smiling faded and he put the zora mask back upon his hip.
"Yet you fear a simple mask." He scoffed, "How amusing." He waded through the crowd, and gave the gaurds a small wave as he returned to the clock tower he resided in.
In a bag deserted by a man long passed, the keeper placed his masks back inside, save for the heart with eyes. Sitting on a bed he had fashioned himself he looked into the eyes of the mask, before placing it upon his face. He looked around the room for a moment, before removing the mask.
He was unchanged, inside and out. His smile returned as he placed the final mask in the bag, though the corners of his lips raised up in a show of bittersweet knowledge, for once... when he was but a child of a man, the masks he held, held magic unrestricted, some changed your form, whilst one... one took your very soul.
But there was no magic in his masks, just as there was no life in his limbs.