Walk with us to other worlds.
No known Magi magick can bridge the void between the stars. But there is another Void, glimpsed through our magickal rifts, that offers hope of leaving our broken world. We spoiled this world and started entropy running. We seek a fresh start. We wish to stop running in circles and step sideways to Somewhere Else.
Her father found her playing in the mud in one of the family’s planting beds. “Blood and thunder, child, what are you doing out here in your good clothes?!”
Quetza looked up and smiled the smile that has bent fathers round fingers for generations. “I’m digging to find the sun.”
Nacatul scratched his head. For eighteen years he had been rearing children, but this one, his brilliant fifth child and only daughter, often left him flummoxed. “The sun is in the sky,” he told the seven-year-old.
“Now. But at night it goes underground in the west. There must be a tunnel it uses to get back to the east. I want to find the tunnel of the nighttime sun.”
Nacatul found sixteen-year-old Quetza in the old mud pit where they had buried her mother three days earlier. “Daughter, others tell me that you have stood vigil here every day at sunrise for an hour. What possible purpose do you have in prolonging your grieving? Let her go.”
Quetza looked up at her father. “She said she would see me for dinner, but she died first. She always kept her promises, so she must be coming back.” Her eyes were wet with tears.
Nacatul shook his head at his normally logical daughter’s reasoning. He hesitated, recalling an incident from her youth, one that the family still mused about from time to time. Perhaps she would understand him. “I’m sorry, Quetza. I do not know of any tunnel for the nighttime soul.”
Nacatul came running. The panicked errand boy had said his daughter had collapsed while carrying water from the well. He broke through the circle of gawkers to hold his daughter. The pot she had carried laid shattered. In her hand, she clutched some sort of leather thing, binding together stacks of square leaves, with strange shapes on its surface, arranged in lines. Her eyes were closed.
He kissed her on the forehead. Instantly, Quetza’s eyes opened. “Father! I have returned! I found the nighttime path!” Then she frowned. “It isn’t a pleasant walk.”
Quetza became a great healer. Many injured warriors came to her door for the magic she claimed to have — claims borne out in practice. The price for her healing was cheap: they merely had to listen to her teaching. “All things return. War is pointless. The man you strike today will rise tomorrow. My healing but speeds the process along, but even death is not permanent. We can fight all we want, but nothing will change in this cyclic world. If you would be true warriors then you must learn to break the cycle itself.”
A few listened. Those warriors laid down their weapons and refused to continue the cycle. They became creators with one goal: to build something that could not be torn down. Some used stone and erected buildings to withstand the elements. Some used medicines to extend life and sought immortality. Some wrote poetry to be remembered for all time.
A dying Nacatul reached for his daughter’s hand. “You have not found immortality yet, have you, Quetza?”
Her eyes red, she answered, “Not yet.”
“Ah, well. Then I must go. But I will be back, you say. Perhaps by the time I return, you will find the secret so I do not have to leave again.”
“We will find it. If not in this cycle then the next. Or the next. There is a way out, I am sure.”
“If anyone can find it, it is you.” He closed his eyes and began his journey on the path of the nighttime soul.
— Transcribed by Stephen “Archivist Lond” Loftus-Mercer
The Toltecs Key Points:
- Yohuan-iloti: Means “the nighttime return path” in the ancient Toltec language. The phrase is used in many ways by the Toltecs. It is the way of all things to come back to where they started. It is an encouragement to try new things because if you fail, you’ll just come back. And it is a curse, spoken when things come back that you wish did not.
- Toltecayotl: The balance of the spiritual and material worlds and between the intuitive and the rational mind. A major part of Toltec philosophy is to keep the balance because a neutral space appears to give us the best chance of stepping up and free.
- The Circle Con: Toltec term for the war for Reality that most Magi are caught in. Magi Quetza once said, “We walk in a circular canyon. We once had good walking shoes, but we lost them. Now our feet hurt. So deep in the canyon, we forget the sun. So focused on shoes, we forget about wings.”
- Chicxulub: Global headquarters and primary Sacred Site.
- Tula: Ruined city is still major pilgrimage site for meditation; rumored to hide a Toltec cache of potent artifacts.
- Tulacetl: Founded by Ilmarien in northern Europe after the fall of Tula, the town is a refuge for many from the Keeper hunts. It is said to have been built on the back of a snow turtle which is how it wanders across the Arctic lands. This rumor cannot be validated and seems implausible, although the city has been documented in several different locations.
- Edge Dance: Toltec Faction term for research and development; sometimes fatal, frequently injurious, always a thrill.
- “fogged mirror”: A euphemism for any Keeper Magi, as in “He’s a fogged mirror.” It refers to the evil Toltec god Tezcatlipoca, binder of fate and destiny, often depicted as a smoky mirror. Quetzalcoatl, god of learning and growth, is called upon to smash the mirror.
- Half-Blind Warrior: Anyone who sees that the world is broken but who cannot see that fighting over it solves nothing. To avoid speaking his name, Cain is alluded to as the Half-Blind King.
The Toltec Faction of Magi began in ~2000 BCE as a Liberator faction interested simply in acquiring enough power to stay free of control by other factions. The Toltecs changed radically around 900 CE when a pacifist ideology arose in the midst of the warrior culture. Rather than scorn the new pacifists, the warriors proclaimed them their greatest members because they were the ones who had taken up the fight against Death Itself. The philosophy was attractive even to mutes, and the Magi Faction spawned a whole civilization that mirrored its beliefs. It did not take many generations before the Toltec people were wiped from the Earth in war, but their legacy survived, and among the Magi, their philosophy grew and evolved. They became one of the major Magi groups involved in the Reality War, which the Toltecs call “the Circle Game.”
Magi Quetza, then and in her incarnations since, taught that the world was broken beyond repair. It was a trap of suffering. The Keepers could continue trying to rebuild Eden, but they would always fail. You could commit suicide in despair a hundred times and still be doomed to live in a world ever more chaotic. True peace and eternal joy will never be found here. The Toltecs seek Elsewhere. Some of them seek a physical elsewhere. Others seek a spiritual haven. But all of them try to abstain from the war over reality that Magi have fought for so long. If attacked, they will defend themselves as befits their warrior heritage — woe betide any Magi who thinks these peaceful monks are disarmed.
The Faction has control of only a single inscription Sacred Site, but it is a pearl beyond price: Chicxulub, the site of the impact crater that scientists believe (correctly according to Magi studies) ended the reign of the dinosaurs and ushered in the age of mammals. This site fuels inscriptions from all six Spheres, but primarily Bio, Forces and Quantum. The Site’s connection to outer space serves as a doorway for the Toltec explorations of the Great Beyond. Some might see the meteor as a destructive force to wipe a broken world to start over. The Toltecs see it as a refugee from another world that came here; it gives them hope that one day humanity might itself traverse the Void.
Magi Chalchiuhtlatonal founded the Toltecs, but when Magi Quetza introduced her philosophy, he changed his name to Ilmarinen, a name he often uses for incarnations to this day. Quetza herself does not repeat her names and keeps secret her past role; we often only recognize one of her incarnations when she dies again. The most powerful member of the Toltecs is Magi Chase, known as the Far Caster.
Toltecs study reality the way a warrior studies a new sword — by trying to break it. There is no theory, no library of past discoveries, no mathematical diagrams. There is the Dance. Magi gathering and setting challenges for each other — who can stand the longest within the Void, who can absorb the most Discord, who can fly the highest. In these challenges, they learn what can and cannot be done. Given any set of rules, they will be constantly testing the bounds to see what they can get away with. They are not rules lawyers seeking loopholes; they are cheaters testing if the referees are paying attention.