Not everyone wants to go mucking about with ancient horrors or terrible things mankind was not meant to know type of shit. Some of us are smarter than that.Mules are magi who have made it their business to ferry goods between the Prime and the Shadow, ranging from essentials to luxuries. With an undeserved reputation for avoiding the world of magic, mules are the butt of many jokes - but everyone has to visit one, sooner or later.
Everyone thinks they're a fucking fancy-ass wizard beyond mortal concerns until they run out of toilet paper.Most Mule work alone, supported by a network of mortal dupes in the form of helpers, employees, and people who generally don't ask why the truck needs to go out to the creepy haunted house at exactly 3am while painted with lamb's blood. Some Mules run businesses on the Prime to facilitate bulk orders or otherwise acquire what they need - the same business is often mirrored on the other side, sometimes right out of the same shadowed building.
For most, mules are a convenience, saving them the hassle of jumping across worlds for a snack. For some, it is their only line back to the real world.
Alright, who ordered the bootlegger's special rum blend?At other times, Mules work to fetch supplies that are just hard to get or make in the Shadow, but otherwise. Paint for artists, books for scholars, wood or metal for craftsmen - as a general rule, Mules don't stick their necks out to go get something dangerous or arcane. They leave that tomfoolery to other magi.
A few select Mules have also branched out to serve as information brokers, trading whatever juicy gossip or interesting news their customers pass on to those who'll pay for it.No matter what they deal in, every Mule is limited by what Gates and Keys they have access too. The lucky ones have one or several reliable, easy-to-use Gates, but places like that are in high demand. Without protection from other magi, many Mules are muscled out of spots like that and forced to make do with lesser Gates, making deliveries more difficult or inconsistent.
Of course, stealing a Mule's spot is a great way to get blacklisted.Even without such interference, Gates never makes it easy. Mules have to also content with mortal squatters, property owners, or urban planners. Should all that go right, most Gates still only allow for perhaps a box full of stuff to go through with a traveler at a time, making it a painstaking and slow process to get everything through. Day to day, a Mule's work consists of hopping back and forth between worlds, hoping the path stays stable.
I prefer the term Interplanar Logistics Specialist, myself. Sounds cool, doesn't it?The common view on Mules is that they're the ones that just don't have what it takes to be a true magi. They're the ones who scraped by, lucked out, found themselves in over their head, and took the easy way out. Instead of embracing their destiny and plunging into the mysteries of magic, they became grocers. Instead of mages, they became mules.
Wiser witches know - no one becomes part of this world without belonging here.
They're 'just' merchants, says people who haven't been paying attention to the rise of corporate might.In reality, Mules do plenty of magic work. The very nature of their craft requires them to travel between worlds frequently. Like any other mage, they make Pacts to ensure safe passage through Gates, to acquire Keys, or for protection, power, and everything else.
Though the Shadow isn't without its gardens or farms, but few wizards are farmers or engineers, so real production remains low... And mostly run by mules, either way.
Shadow of the WorldThe Shadow lies atop the mortal world, like a veil of oil on water. It's where things that go bump in the night hide when the sun goes up, where magic dwells, and where wizards and witches live away from prying eyes. It's a plane of existence that mirrors the world. From here, people in the Prime are like insubstantial shades. It isn't quite a 1-to-1 translation of the real world, sometimes reforged by magic or mage's whim.
Like an oily stain across reality, the Shadow co-exists with the real world and hides monsters of magic.
Party FavorsSome Mules like to joke that without them, the world would've ended long ago, because who else would bring booze to the Apocalypse Prevention Party? Dedicated to preventing the greedy or foolish from traveling to the shadow of the Moon and fuck something up, the Apocalypse Prevention Party is just that. It's a party, and they're there to prevent the apocalypse. During its span, Mules are always busy, bringing in booze, food, drugs, and anything else to keep the good vibes going.
The Apocalypse Prevention Party
Saving the world and getting drunk at the same time.
We're drunk, heavily armed, and we're here to save the world!
PactsPacts are contracts signed with entities of power, usually from the Beyond, where a Magi makes a promise in exchange for some boon. These range from small and fleeting, such as safe passage through a part of the Beyond or the Key to a particular Gate, all the way to immortality and forbidden, blasphemous powers. The price paid rises accordingly, and only fools make such promises lightly.
FetchingA form of apportation, Fetching allows for the retrieval of marked objects from one plane to another - typically from the Prime and into the Shadow. A few industrious Mules are looking into ways of maybe expanding the reach of such spells through ritual or pacts. If they succeed, it will allow them to bypass the need for Gates entirely and make everyone's life easier.
With all the spite coming their way, many Mules band together for mutual protection. The biggest of all is the Teamster's Union, consisting of a dozen or so Mules backed by a few patrons.