Friday, May 2, 2014

The Journeymen [B]

Now, this setting needs wanderers. Odysseans. Cains. You know, the Doctor. Those mysterious people who go from place to place, realm to realm, doing things and maybe, but maybe not, trying to clean the wreckage that they leave behind.

So let's have them. We'll call them the Journeymen. I can’t quite remember how I came up with this, I was just throwing ideas around in my skull, but even though it’s hokey and corny, I like it. That’s what they are, in the end. But it’s not just that they’re walking ‘round Creation doing things. No, they’re journeymen in a more literal sense.

They’re all traveling the realms of Creation in order to make their masterwork. It isn’t necessarily tangible; it’s more like the sum total of their achievements and failures. In order to be accepted among the ranks of the Powers Major a Journeyman will need to prove that she is worthy of, and capable of handing, the power which comes with raw magic.

Nobody knows what’s necessary for a masterwork, exactly, although most Journeymen agree that matters of morality aren’t too important in this except insofar as they influence the Journeyman and his decisions and whether he sticks to whatever beliefs he has. There are, after all, sick and sadistic Powers Major who would make Jeffrey Dahmer and Hitler look like saints and presumably, those Powers Major (who appear to get along splendidly, when it matters, with others of their kind) will have as much of a say as the others in whether a masterwork is acceptable or not.

Some Journeymen travel with others of their kind. Others don’t. Nearly all of them, whether they’re with fellow Journeymen or otherwise alone, still have companions from who are not themselves Journeymen. This is because of their Identities. You see, a Journeyman is not this flesh-and-blood matter which you see before you and which you can stab and make bleed. A Journeyman is her history and her personality, her beliefs and her acts, and her name and her Identity. A Journeyman’s body can be slain but if, before she dies, she can convince someone to take on her Identity, then the Journeyman will continue on.

Neither species nor sex matters when it comes to passing on one’s Identity, so Journeymen are rather fluid about these concerns. When someone takes on a Journeyman’s Identity, which requires nothing more than a verbal acknowledgment that one is willing to be, say, The Tinker or The Marquis of Eyes, a series of changes will occur. First, one’s past identity will be entirely erased from the entire realm from which you hail. If you have been to other realms then what you did there will still be remembered as it happened, but in the timelines of the realm in which you were born, you will no longer exist and whatever you did will instead have been done by other people. History will go on without you, and nobody in your home realm will remember who you were.

Any realm-twins of yours, or copies of yourself from other timelines, who happen to be outside of your home realm will be affected by this as well, but without becoming a Journeyman. Understandably they may become a bit miffed with what you do did to them, even if you weren’t aware that they existed (not everyone has twins running around in other timelines, let alone complete other realms) or even that becoming a Journeyman would have this effect (you don't need to know the consequences of agreeing to take an Identity, you just need to agree).

You will also cease to age from that point on, halting at whatever point of development you are now at. Journeymen are never permanently injured, either. While they can still die any injury which they survive will eventually heal completely. It may take a few years but even the leg which you lost will be regenerated in full, and you won't have so much as a limp when all is said and done.

It generally takes magic or technology or other things to travel from timeline to timeline and realm to realm, often by exploiting little cracks in the universal structure (some were placed there intentionally by the Powers Major, and others were accidental, or developed later due to damage). Usually, one needs to be in the general physical vicinity of the crack in order to take advantage of it, but from there it usually doesn’t matter where you’re trying to go (although some cracks are very small, and open up only to certain places).

Journeymen are able to exploit these cracks naturally, and they instinctively know where such cracks are in the world that they are in (and, when applicable, where the crack leads to). They still are unable to move around without being in the area of the crack, however.

Most Journeymen do not use magic. They travel around far too much, and go through far too many different realms, for it to be very useful for them. Say that one becomes an expert in magic in one realm, yes? In the next realm, he may be very good, still, or he may have to start from the very beginning again because magic operates entirely differently here.

Far more useful to Journeymen are what they call “boxes.” Most realms develop something like them. A box stores magical energy inside itself (or something along those lines, in realms where magic isn’t really any sort of energy or other resource you can tap) and uses it for specific purposes. The more energy it can store, or the more uses it has, the better and more valuable the box. Journeymen value these boxes because it’s like carrying a little bit of that box’s realm with them, allowing them to do a few magical tricks here and there until the box’s magic runs out and they need to recharge it.

Magic-users who wander the realms also make heavy use of the boxes.

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