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Bess

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Bess
Bess
Biographical information
Tribe

Del

Predecessor

Unnamed mother (as troupe leader of the Masked Ones)

Physical description
Species

Human

Gender

Female

Personal information
Relatives

Bede (son)
Lief (distant relation)
Ballum (ancestor, deceased)
Liah (ancestor, deceased)
Sarah (ancestor, deceased)
Adin (ancestor, deceased)
Zara (ancestor, deceased)

Chronological and political information
Profession

Troupe leader (formerly)

Position

Leader of the Masked Ones (formerly)

Affiliation

The Masked Ones

First appearance

Shadowgate

Last appearance

The Sister of the South (mentioned)

Bess was the leader of the travelling circus known as the Masked Ones.[1]

History Edit

Early life Edit

Bess grew up among the Masked Ones and eventually became a member of the Inner Circle. She was tutored under her mother, the previous troupe leader, who instructed her on how to use a fortune-telling glass and various secrets among the Masked Ones. Bess became troupe leader after her mother died.

Eight years before the destruction of the Four Sisters, the Masked Ones stopped by a village known as Shadowgate in Deltora's north. Bess' son, Bede, stole the heart of a woman named Kirsten, but left her heartbroken when the troupe left the village. Kirsten fled into the mountains out of grief and shame, and the village came to despise the Masked Ones. One year later, the troupe was forced to return after a pod of Grey Guards attacked them.

This time Bede fell in love with Kirsten's younger sister, Mariette. Bess scolded him for his feelings, since the Masked Ones did not marry outside of their troupe, and instead told him to focus on his future in the troupe. The following night, Bede and Mariette fled into the mountains together.

Bess was heartbroken by the loss of her son. Her attempts to locate him proved futile, and eventually she accepted that he was dead. Occasionally she would see Bede's face in her glass, but she attributed these sightings to her grief-struck mind and ignored them.

In order to keep the troupe strong, Bess broke the long-standing tradition of only accepting orphans and children into the Masked Ones by allowing adults to join the troupe as well. Though the Inner Circle did not approve of this decision—and Bess herself looked down on these members to a degree—it was essential to make sure the troupe would not die out.[1]

Shadowgate Edit

Bess sent the Masked Ones to Deltora's east to dig for purebond roots, which were integral for the creation of masks of adulthood. During the trip, she noticed that the eastern lands were becoming more prosperous and believed this good fortune spread all across Deltora.

One night, as the troupe camped near the border of Ruby and Opal territories, Lief, Barda and Jasmine were dropped beyond the barrier moths by Joyeu on their way to Shadowgate. Their arrival prompted the troupe's strongman and Inner Circle member, Otto, to go investigate, and he was killed by a conjuration of the Masked One. The Masked Ones captured Lief, Barda, and Jasmine—disguised as Lewin, Berry and Jay respectfully—and brought them to Bess to be executed for Otto's murder. However, Bess mistook Lief for her son and hesitated long enough to listen to their side of the story. She had the three of them locked into Otto's wagon while she and the Inner Circle inspected Otto's body.

The next morning, Bess persuaded the companions to stay with the Masked Ones for a while on their journey to Happy Vale. She instructed various members of the Inner Circle to teach Barda and Jasmine and educated Lief herself, whom she gave Bede's old blue bird mask. Bess attempted to teach Lief about music and singing, which eventually devolved into her sharing the story of how she lost Bede. She explained how she thought seeing Bede's face in her glass was because of her grieving, but now she saw them as a premonition of the arrival of his replacement in Lief.

Shortly after their lesson, another phantom of the Masked One attacked and killed a seamstress named Fern. Lief and Inner Circle member Rust witnessed the attack and informed Bess. She took it as a sign that Lief had a guardian angel watching over him and told Rust to cover up the incident so that no one would take action against Lief.

On the third night since their arrival, Bess informed the companions that the Masked Ones would be leaving for the east again, and offered them a chance to join the troupe. Barda politely declined her offer, and when Bess asked Lief for his opinion, he replied that he goes where his "uncle" goes.

Bess begrudgingly respected their decision, but asked only two things of the companions: that they remain in the camp for one hour, and that Lief would wear Bede's mask of adulthood until midnight. She explained that it would be the only chance for her to see the mask worn. In reality, she wanted to stall for time until the mask bonded to Lief's face, making him a Masked One forever.

To pass the time, Bess invited the group to see a magic trick. Using her glass, a special spinning table, and a clever mathematical trick, Bess pretended to read Barda's mind and decipher a number he was thinking of. After the show, she invited Lief and Jasmine to mingle among the troupe while Barda tried to challenge Bess with the puzzle box he took from the Granous. She managed to undo one of its locks before dropping the box and quickly slipping poison into Barda's drink when he bent over to retrieve it.

Lief rushed towards the table in an attempt to warn Barda, which resulted in a group of acrobats being knocked over mid-practice. This caused enough of a distraction for Kree, who had been watching the whole time, to dive underneath the table and rotate the position of the drinks. Bess then accidentally drank her own poison. In the resulting chaos, Barda attempted to pull off Bess' mask to help her breathe, which tore the skin off her face and exposed the mask of adulthood's secret to everyone in the troupe. During the resulting skirmish, Bess died from the poisoning.[1]

The Sister of the South Edit

When Zerry, a former member of the Masked Ones, wanted to try and open Barda's puzzle box, he mentioned that Bess had a variety of puzzles similar to it.[2]

Physical appearance Edit

Bess was a massive old woman who dwarfed Otto, the troupe's strong man. Her mask was the head of an owl—the same as Ballum, her ancestor and the founder of the Masked Ones. Bess also wore the gold ring that belonged to the troupe leader, which could open and release a poisonous powder.[1]

Personality Edit

Bess was quite clever and cunning, performing various "magic tricks" as her performance in the Masked Ones. She knew how to play others to her advantage, such as using her status as an grieving old woman to deceive Lief, Barda, and Jasmine of her true intentions. She was fiercely loyal and protective of the Masked Ones, and was not above killing in order to keep her troupe safe. By the same token, she ignored people outside the troupe unless they had money, and cared little for "bareface hangers-on", like most Masked Ones. Despite this prejudice, she understood that the troupe would need to adopt older members if it needed to survive, though she did not seem to care when one of them was murdered.

Despite coming from royal blood, Bess hated the royal family like the rest of the Masked Ones and viewed Lief as a tyrant due to generations of mistrust. Because of this, it is unlikely she knew about her ancestral connection to the royal family.

Bess loved her son Bede more than anything. She saw no faults in him and spoke only praises when it came to his abilities and personality. When he and Mariette ran off together, Bess was heartbroken, but chose to blame Mariette for seducing Bede rather than herself for pushing him to remain with the Masked Ones. The grief she felt after Bede's disappearance clouded her mind and caused her to do anything to keep his memory alive.[1]

Abilities Edit

As the leader of the Masked Ones, Bess knew the formula for creating masks of adulthood from purebond root, which would bind to flesh if worn for one hour and cast a spell that would make the wearer think they were a Masked One. She was also adept at theatrics and pleasing crowds through fortune telling. Though she put on a show using a spinning table and mathematical puzzles, Bess could actually see visions in her glass, though she was not always able to decipher what they meant. She saw Bede's face in the glass multiple times, but she dismissed them as her mind playing tricks on her, or later the foretelling of Lief's arrival as Bede's replacement. In actuality, the visions were telling her that Bede was alive and imprisoned by Kirsten.

Despite having large, bulky hands, Bess was able to handle things quite delicately. She was also capable of swift movements, such as depositing poison into a drink without anyone noticing. She also had a knack for puzzles, which allowed her to partially solve Barda's puzzle box.

Bess was also skilled with music and songs. She was able to notate music and sing with a perfect pitch.[1]

Relatives Edit

Trivia Edit

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Rodda, Emily. Shadowgate. Scholastic Australia. 2004.
  2. Rodda, Emily. The Sister of the South. Scholastic Australia. 2004.

See also Edit

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