Go shape your own world. Leave mine alone.
The Schism is only a group in the loosest sense. We walk our own paths, away from the Keepers and their limiting laws, away from Cain and his brainwashed minions. Heck, away from each other if we could, but we need each other to stay free. We aren’t out to change the world, just our little corner of it. If other Magi did the same, the world would be a damn sight better — might even be better than Eden! Ours is the path of true freedom, unlike all others.
The Schism Key Points:
- “The Schism” is a label applied by other factions. Internally they refer to themselves as Hasu He-sa.
- Their supposed (see Intel Report) motto: “Hasura net’millish imizhabi khedgi.”
- The Schism tends to get more excited by their logo, which was assigned to represent them in some long-ago Keeper report and which they have since stylized and improved on. “Given as an insult, accepted with pride.”
- The Schism’s unique spells and Specializations are mostly in Spheres of the Physical Plane.
- Many Schism Magi specialize in forbidden magics, including mind control. If the Keepers say no, they have to try it. At least once.
- The Schism claims that humanity never left Eden. This is it, unbroken. What changed is people started fighting over it.
- The Schism has no hierarchy; “leadership” is raw magick power and notoriety. Basically, anyone who comes up with an exciting enough idea and has the power to pull it off.
- The Schism members have some mechanism for inviting members to rally at a place and time. They had flash mobs before the Internet. The mechanism is unknown to other factions. Intriguingly, it seems capable, sometimes, of broadcasting across oceans and other salty areas.
- Many Schism Magi prefer living in areas of political unrest to draw attention away from their practices. The Schism takes a great deal of pride in hiding in plain sight, being the barista at the cafe that Keepers see every morning without realizing it.
- Occasionally Schism members join other factions just to see if they have learned anything worth stealing. They then share that data generally. Any Schism who is going to infiltrate generally makes it widely known first so they aren’t suspected of being a double agent. The Schism strongly discourages members from trying to infiltrate the Keepers — the policing is too tight and too many have been caught and re-educated over the centuries.
The Schism is not a faction. It did not form around some ideal or principle. “The Schism” is a nom de guerre for a group of individuals who share a common goal: survive the fighting among the other factions and enjoy life in the meantime. But like any involuntary grouping, over time, they develop signs, colloquialisms and traditions. The Schism members continually watch out for this in order to stop developing them. The supposed motto of The Schism, for example, is “Through one’s own will, freedom.” The actual motto is closer to, “How the fuck did we get a fucking motto?! I don’t even like you people!” That last part isn’t actually true — observation of groups of Schism Magi show a great deal of camaraderie, though constantly denied.
Dreamers, brawlers, misfits, miscreants, layabouts, hedonists and malcontents. If there is one thing all Schism Magi believe, it is this: you make your own Eden. This world is to be tasted and enjoyed. Many Schism enjoy a good fight… it’s the endless war for control that seems pointless. They go their own way.
There is, however, a formal “The Schism” organization, or as organized as something like the USA Civil War era “underground railroad” ever gets. The organization was founded in 150 C.E. in Cahuachi (Peru, South America). Prior to that date, there were just a lot of unaffiliated Magi in the world. But in the first millennium C.E., the Keepers started a major push to make all Magi declare sides, and being lone or small-group Magi became untenable. The Schism formed to band together the unbandable. They met in Peru because it was far from any major Keeper activity. Nevertheless, Keepers heard and attacked the gathering. The attack failed spectacularly in no small part because of Magi Kiefer’s cleverness, earning him the nickname Keeper’s Salt (to this day he has never revealed how to give Universum Negation both Duration and Area effect). Stories of Kiefer’s exploits since then are legion and (probably) mostly untrue. He is permanently on the Keeper “Most Wanted” list.
The Schism org provides four services to the membership:
- A global network of safe houses.
- Maintenance of the top-secret semi-magickal broadcast system that lets The Schism share messages globally. Schism Magi refer to this system by different names in different eras. It is slow by today’s standards, taking about 3 days to propagate a message worldwide, but prior to the Internet Age, this gave The Schism one of only two high-speed global comm systems (the other being The Unseen College). Even today, the network has value because it is (thus far) private and secure.
- Safeguarding the Artifact(s?) that allows Schism Magi in mass combat to share energies with each other.
- Protection of the group’s Sacred Sites (see below).
Schism members are called on by random lottery to help with these four missions. Those who decline to take their turn find themselves ostracized and on their own in the Reality War.
The Schism does sometimes pull together as one… dangerous in time of war, but worse in time of boredom. Schism Magi are powerful serial immortals who occasionally go all out on a whim — think massive multinational corporation dedicated to whatever the Internet voted to do on any given day.
They supported Ghengis Khan to destroy as much Keeper structure as possible (legend says Kiefer was Khan). They scared the beejeezus out of people with a fun light show commonly called The Daylight Comet of 1910. They built a bunch of stone heads on a small island in the Pacific just to stir up the stuffy European explorers. The one called “Plaguemaster” likely boosted the 1300s Black Death in Europe. Other factions condemned and hunted him; The Schism asked him to warn them first next time. It wasn’t all bad… working on a cure supposedly lead Schism Magi shi-kha to discover and refine coffee.
In the 1600s, a fair number of Schism joined the new TechnoWeavers — “and decreased the average IQ of both groups,” so the TW joke goes. TW and Schism have a fairly solid amicable relationship these days.
Prior to 2012, other factions believed The Schism only controlled two Sacred Sites globally. One is deep in the African Congo jungle. The other is in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, USA. Modern computing power and monitoring satellites allowed analysis of ley line patterns to reveal a third Schism Site at The Great Serpent Mound in Ohio, USA.
… thing on? Ok. It’s working now. So, maybe you’ve heard of the terracotta warriors of China? Go Google them. Pretty sweet. Anyway, in 2012, diggers turned up a second cache of them. Ever since I heard ’bout ’em, I’ve been bugged by this sense that I knew those statues. And maybe I was asked to do something with ’em? Kept reminding me of these letters written in Eastern characters stored in my Magi chest. I somehow know how to sound them out them but no idea what the words mean. I just make the right noises. I’d ask someone, but I worry ’bout what secrets I might be sharing. Gotta figure this out on my own.
I’m going to try some self-medicating. I got here a mixture of Za-d, Ivriara, LSD, Adderall, and other stuff that only make sense to mix if you’re playing with magick. I’m recording this ‘case I don’t survive this experiment. So… bottoms up! Ahames! <PAUSE/> Now… where’s that first letter?
<READING IN AN ARCHAIC MANDARIN; TRANSLATED HERE>
The great and powerful Magi Zheng has united China. He is the Son of Heaven and he has attempted to destroy all that he considers not pure. Through this he has broken our people, destroyed our ways, stolen our knowledge. That we still live is the proof that he has not succeeded in ending our fellowship. He has made us his enemies. But now he creates an unstoppable army to destroy us! We cannot remain separate in the face of such an enemy. We need to organize ourselves.
Heed my call if you will,
Speaker Zhao Gao
Well now… whoa… visions! Hey! Look! It’s some dude… wait! I know him… Emporer Qin! First Chinese Emporer. Giving some sort of proclamation. Cool, he’s Magi! Now I see police… I’d know them in any time period. They’re statues! Animated statues! Oh, golems! Chasing us. They got my friends. Oh gods no I don’t want to see that… heads… blood… no… no… next letter…
<READING AGAIN IN ARCHAIC MANDARIN>
I call upon you again, my friends. Zheng shall not turn away from his ways. We warned him, but he only responded with fear by slaughtering those nearby. He is right to fear us for I stole the secret of building his Terracotta Army, the golems that he employs. Come to me that I may teach you! Craft one who shall make another, who shall make another, and another. We shall raise our own army, not just soldiers and archers, but horsemen and chariots as well! Unified in Will, Voice, and Action we can oppose this Keeper tyrant.
Fight next to me,
Speaker Zhao Gao
I see a meteor. It crashes in Dōngjùn in the lower reaches of the Yellow River. It bears a message we carved for “his majesty.” The emperor panics, knows we have command of the Heavens. I send out The Call. I think, wow. I think that’s the first time anyone ever did that. I invented The Call? Wow, I’m pretty damn awesome! I see you all coming to me… friends I know today, but wearing older forms. Hey, Josh looks good as a Mongolian! Every one helps. Look! The mud rises up into men and horses! And I see our terracotta warriors facing off against theirs! They’ve broke! They’re running! Next letter!
He has died, but they remain… I am beginning to understand what we have done. Our army must be stopped, their purpose is done. The seem an unstoppable force, killing and destroying in the name of our finished goal. Now I must force those loyal to him to seek them out and destroy them, else they destroy us all. Any of them who survive that quest, I shall end myself. My student shall be the next and last ruler, he has trained beneath me and believes our ways. This can be won. Speakers, lend to me your Voice!
Speaker Zhao Gao
I see our army again. Ruh roh, Shaggy! It’s gone crazy. Doubling in size every couple of days. Eating the land, killing… so much blood turns the statues red. They got Ra’thark! Cleaved him in half! And then… white flashes. I see… I see myself, my hands… I’m writing another letter…
<MANDARIN AGAIN, BUT NOT READING ANY LETTER>
Great tongues of white fire have devoured the head of our army. The rest sleep buried now until we create their leaders once more. All is as it is, and none have ruined our paradise. You have done a great work, my friends. I will keep the keys. I cannot wait for our next chance to play with this spell!
Return to freedom,
Speaker Zhao Gao
Oh, man, that was amazing. We were amazing! And, um… oh, right! I just realized why I’ve got the heebee jeebees ’bout those statues. They’re’nt destroyed… just powered down. I don’t have those keys anymore I don’t think. Seems like a good idea to find them before Certain Other Parties do. Well, I guess I survived the drink. I feel awful though. I’ll stop the recording now and —
—Unseen College record +2014.34.BZ.7, retrieved from YouTube before original video was removed by its uploader.
What is “The Call”?
What are the terracotta keys?