Open Heart Guardians
Mysterious, semi-sentient artifacts seek out and find their way into the hands of girls with deep potential in their hearts, allowing them transformations based on the hearts of the users. If their hearts are closed off, it gives them a superficial form their 'outer heart'. Only by understanding their hearts, opening them, and letting them grow, can they reach their true selves and true forms. The artifacts were created by an ancient lost civilization that knew the power of the heart, but had closed theirs off and put a metaphorical mask on, so in using the artifacts eventually turned into monsters known as Masques - and if the girls who received the artifacts keep using them recklessly without looking inwards, if they neglect their civilian selves and ignore friendship, romance, and learning who they are - they may fall to the same fate. The ancient Masques have been sleeping, but the chaos of this new age has awoken them once more, and they have returned to wreak havoc, with the Emperor Masque creating Shadow Minions to attack those that have ‘his’ artifacts.
The Masques are members of an ancient race on Earth that have grown cold-hearted and locked away their true selves, slowly letting those rot away. Upon discovering the power of the heart, their still open-hearted mages created items of power that allowed them to access said power, each one taking on a distinct shape and somehow ending up with the one who was to use it. These allowed them great power, but slowly turned them into what they portrayed themselves as. They gained new forms and powers based upon the callouses around their hearts, and the masks they put on to the world and themselves became literal and their entire being. The mages that created the artifacts realized what they have done, and battled the Masques to a standstill. In a last-ditch effort, they sacrificed their lives to seal away the Masques, and everything was fine for the world. However, over time, clashes of magic, explosions of power, and the chaos of time slowly broke the seal until they were released.
Masques come in many shapes and sizes. Some almost human, others beast-like, some just bizarre. With all these forms, they also have just as many desires. Some wish for pure and utter destruction and chaos as that is all that lies in their hearts now. Others want power and domination, as their hearts contain merely conquest and dominance. Some just want to be recognized, feeling their race should have grown to be the dominant one if they were not wiped out. All of them seem to range in intelligence from animal, to childlike, to intellectual, yet all of them seem to follow these wants with pure instinct and almost no control. Except for the Emperor Masque. No matter who wanted control and power, no matter what any of their goals, all of the Masques follow him. He wishes to rule, plain and simple, and his powers gain him control over the other Masques and the ability to create servants out of shadows to obey him and seek out the remaining artifacts not held by Masques. To grow more powerful, he has absorbed many of the others, so what should be an unstoppable army of Masques, an entire race, is now much smaller while he is much larger.
The artifacts used by the mages have also awakened once more, each one containing just a tiny spark of the mage’s hearts within them, allowing them to seek out those who could and should wield them. They can also silently, subtly guide those who use them to learn more about them, such as the Paper Guardian’s book gaining more clear writing to give vague messages. The Emperor Masque wishes to retrieve the missing artifacts to become more powerful, to unlock the power he assumes is dormant in his heart as since he desires more power and is the Emperor, he must have more locked within himself.
'The Open Heart Guardians'
- Akemi Kimura - Also known as Paper Heart Guardian Michiko. Her Artifact is a magical tome. She is very new to her Guardian job.
- Emperor Masque - The boss of most of the Masques, he believes that the artifacts and the world should belong to him. Has yet to be seen
- Emperor's Servants - While not Masques themselves, these monsters are created from the Emperor Masques shadow and "live" to serve him.