Keys

Every Gate has a Key.  
— Walker Manifesto
  Keys are objects that unlock Gates, supernatural portals between worlds. Like Gates, Keys can hold many forms, from the mundane to the ethereal, and it is even possible to hold Keys without realizing it. Every Gate has at least one Key, though some have several - and some Keys work for entire types of Gates. These are highly sought after by both Walkers and monsters, allowing an easy stride between planes.  

Types Of Keys

Some common form of Keys are  

Mundane Items

An often-found Key, some Gates respond to any number of normal items. A football, a dagger, a bullet casing fired in anger - often, they are imbued with meaning. Frequently victims of Destiny.

Ritual

Not a spell, but something greater. Rituals are when the stars align, when the songs are sung to the wind, when All Things Are As They Should, and the Gate opens to those who perform it.
 

Spells

The crudest of Gates open by the most simple means. These tend to fall into sough categories, such as a spell of fire or flesh-warping. Some require much more esoteric magic.

Sacrifice

A more ghoulish kind of Ritual, Sacrifices require blood and pain to unlock the magic within the Gate. Depending on the Gate, it ranges from blood-letting to butchery.
 

Emotion

Some Gates open only to Keys found in the human heart. Anger, love, virtue, fear - madness is a frequent Key, but one difficult to really use with any reliability, but that hasn't stopped people from trying.

Memories

The rarest of Keys. These tend to be one-and-done, specific to one Walker, while other open to a host of often suppressed details, hidden deep within the mind. Recalling them provides the key.
 

Conditions

Some Keys cannot be owned, but exist when the times are right. When the stars are right, when the equinox passes its highest point, when jupiter shines the brightest in the sky... These events open dormant gates, usually with unpredictable and unexpected results. These Keys are the most common cause for the Lost, poor sods whose passage to another world was entirely by misfortune and accident.  

Turning The Key

Don't let go of my hand, no matter what the voices in the mist say.
  Using a Key is often as simple as being aware of it. Mortals without magic ability, or Mundies, lack the metaphorical third eye to see a Key or Gate for what they truly are. Even when they might have theoretical knowledge of its purpose and value, a Key requries... Something else. Something beyond knowledge - something closer to insight, or inspiration. Whatever it is, it's usually coupled with magic ability. There are exceptions to every rule, but those are rare and usually bad news.

Walkers

The most frequent user of Keys are Walkers, spellcasters who frequently cross between worlds. Why they do that depends on who you ask - revenge, wealth, secrets, ideals, boredom. Whatever their cause, when there's a conflict over Keys, it's almost certainly because of Walkers.  
Walkers
Profession | Jul 1, 2021

Walker of Worlds, holder of keys, seeker of gates.

 

The Wild Hunt

Monsters can by themselves be both the Key and the Gate. The Wild Hunt is the best example, appearing in all their reality-warping glories when their time is right, appearing to talk their prey. Some posit that the Hunt itself is their key, and the Gate is where-ever the victims are or will be.    

Gate-Crashers

The idea of a locked door is so charmingly mortal to the creatures of the Beyond. Some monsters swim between worlds as a shark in water. Fortunately, these predators are so rare as to be almost mythical.   Unfortunately, each of them are both horrifyingly powerful and utterly alien to all human concerns.

Comments

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15 Apr, 2021 20:39

"Don't let go of my hand, no matter what the voices in the mist say." What a lovely quote. The Walkers use the Keys alone or they can cross the Gates with other Walkers?

Am I writing or procrastinating? Take a guess and visit Hanzelot
16 Apr, 2021 13:24

That's a good point that I missed - there are ways to essentially travel as a small group with a single key!   I'll have to think about it...Especially if the keys are very rare, it creates an interesting dynamic. Now you have given me something to think about. :D Thank you!