The First Walk

Every journey starts with a decision, no matter how grand or small. It might be "I'm going to see what's over there", or it might be "I'm not going to die today".  
— Walker's Manifesto
  The First Walk is an irregularly held tradition among Walkers to initiate new magi to their ranks, a jaunt between worlds to whet the appetite for secrets and wonder.  

Going for a Walk

Go to places and leave footsteps where there's never been one before.  
— Walker's Manifesto
  Most Walkers learn their trade through a master and apprentice type of relationship. Magi are vanishingly rare already, and finding the few among those who are bold to be a Walker means there's little in the way of official structures in place for new Walkers to find their footing. Some have even done plenty of travel between worlds already, either by accident or design, finding their way into something that works. Surviving that is usually enough to get the attention of other Walkers.  
Or get hopelessly Lost - some Walkers just can't resist 'taking in a stray' like that.
 
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by Pixabay
Every Walker has their own style of teaching; many adopt an egalitarian sort of approach where both parties are equal, but one of them is currently disadvantaged. Others go for more of an 'if I don't beat 'em, monsters will eat 'em" style. Despite the differences, the curriculum has many similarities; how Gates and Keys work, how magic society is organized, what the planes are, best Shwarma place on the black, and so on.   Most of all, Walkers teach their wards that they don't have all the answers, and to be curious. Even the harshest Walker master will, however reluctantly, admit when they don't know what's going on. Any Walker who thinks they do or can just make assumptions about it will have a short career. Out of all the lessons taught, being curious is the most important.
 
Of course, being curious is exactly what tends to get Walkers into trouble to begin with.
  Other than that, the exact details depend on the Walker teaching and what they've seen. Few Walkers are free of some pet obsession that color their lessons and guide what they teach. Lineages of knowledge perpetuate through the apprenticeship, and many Magi will assume a Walker knows about a topic based on who their master was. Just as important, Walkers introduce their wards to other Walkers and into an expanding circle of acquaintances. Some masters even swap apprentices from time to time, to give the apprentice a fresh perspective and a new topic to learn.  
The two most important tools of a Walker, besides their own cunning and can-do-attitude.
 

That First Step

You're not ready until you can feel it in your bones.  
— Walker's Manifesto
  However long the apprenticeship lasts, it is always ended with the First Walk. Would-be Walkers are challenged to go between worlds and explore, often through something their master and their friends have set up. It can be a journey across the world, one Gate at a time, or a journey into the Beyond. The Walk often involves some minor tasks to complete but isn't important in itself. The true purpose of the Walk is to awe the would-be Walker with the full span of their new existence and ignite in them that irresistible wanderlust that marks every Walker. If all goes well, the First Walk isn't even meant to be dangerous, but an inspiring stroll through the cosmos.  
And as any Walker knows, something always goes wrong.
 
The First Walks are always supervised, whether the apprentice realizes it or not. Most Master call in friends and allies to help out, just in case. No matter how safe it might seem on paper, any journey the Beyond is never without peril.  
Few, if any, First Walks go according to plan.
  Although it is often formulated as one, the First Walk isn't a trial. Failure is always an option, as long as the lessons are learned - some Walks are even set up that way. If an apprentice has come this far, they've already proven everything they need to, so whatever happens is just one final lesson before they go on their way.
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by Rawpixel.com (Freepik)
 
Getting put into a no-win situation is called 'getting Kobayashi'd' by some younger Walkers.
  Barring any spectacularly egregious fuck-ups, once the apprentice returns from their First Walk, they are now a Walker... Perhaps a few new scars as reminders of any errors committed along the way.
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by Unsplash (Jaroslav Devia)
 

Walkers

Those who walk between worlds, explorers of secrets, the meddling teenagers of the supernatural world, Walkers is really a term for anyone who makes a regular habit of hopping between realities. Most spellcasters walk between worlds, but Walkers make it a full-time occupation. With so many secrets to find and so little time, they rarely stay still for long.  
Walkers
Profession | Jul 1, 2021

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

 

The Beyond

The Beyond is a realm of monsters and magic, of wonder and horror, far from the mortal world. Here, spirits, gods, and demons dwell among impossible, myth-shrouded lands. Getting there is difficult, and getting out can be even worse.   Nearly every Familiar spirit is called from the Beyond, lured to the Prime with promises to sate whatever alien hunger calls them.  
The Beyond
Geographic Location | Jul 3, 2021

The world beyond all other worlds, a place of wonder and horror in equal measure.

   

Pacts

Pacts 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.   Walkers make many Pacts throughout their careers, bartering for everything from sanctuary to keys to Familiars. It's just a fact of life that few can escape - it's a hard life, and everyone needs a hand, sooner or later.    
Pacts
Condition | Jul 8, 2021

Making a deal with a devil, and its consequences.

 

Quitters

Every so often, either during the apprenticeship or even after the First Walk, someone decides that this isn't what they signed up for. Since there are no membership roll or guild dues, all they have to do is just not walk. Some decide that becoming Mules seems a whole lot safer, while others find some other mysteries that compels them instead.   Quitters who find something else to do are usually tolerated by other Walkers, but a few of them burn bridges as they flee the life. At least one is actively hunted for atrocities they committed during their first walk to save their own skin... But most fall somewhere in between and are soon forgotten.

After All That

Now get going.  
— Walker's Manifesto
  When it's all said and done, a new Walker emerges from the trip. All that's left after that is the party - or recovering, depending on just how badly wrong the Walk went. Many things are set in motion for the Walker from their first trip, even if they don't always know it. Who they impressed, who they listened to, who they'd managed to piss off all have repercussions that echo long after. They have the knowledge to walk between worlds, from the Prime to the Faelands, to find secrets long forgotten or make new innovations on lessons of old.   What they do with it, well, that's up to them.    
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by Visnezh (Freepik)


Cover image: by Unsplash

Comments

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16 Jul, 2021 08:30

This is a fantastic coming of age ceremony. I love that they're generally always prepared for something to go wrong -- safety first, in this dangerous magical line of work xD   The sidebar bit about quitters turning into Mules was a nice connection, too. And I really got a laugh out of the bit about one being actively hunted :D

Cathedris, the world of God-Husks and New Magic, welcomes you.
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
16 Jul, 2021 08:32

Nice little ritual, of course nothing will go wrong :D   I imagine they try to keep quite when they're going to do that or that would really be the perfect ambush...   One thing I'm not clear is whether the first walk is really their first time in the beyond (baring any accidental travel they've done before that) or if their master bring them with them a few times during their training and the first walk is only the first time they do it alone.   Random other question: since they've been there already a few times, are there ever any would-be-apprentices that refuse the mentoring and think they can do it on their own? Anyone who survived thinking that way?

16 Jul, 2021 12:43

OMG THE STAR TREK REFERENCE!!! <3 If the Walker takes a lesson from Kirk's book, that must be fun to see!

Am I writing or procrastinating? Take a guess and visit my galaxy