Caesura

What It Is

Known as the Barrier, the Pause, the Worldwall, and R'lyeh, the Caesura exists as a sheer wall between the Dominions. Containing the extradimensional and chaogenic creatures dubbed the Caesurites, it connects every place in the Tell with each location in the Plasm. Crossing the Caesura, or more accurately, piercing it, allows you to reach any and every point in either Dominion.

By nature, the Caesura is a boundary which transforms the flow of Passion and Quiddity as it moves from one Dominion to the other, and the Caesurites inhabiting this pallid hedge are the reason it functions as it does. Their being, the energy by which they exist, causes change, and whatever that energy is, it affects the "stuff" of the Coil, Quiddity, quite easily. The Compact was the means by which that transformation was guided.

Caesurites do not affect Quiddity directly – their forms extend beyond the dimensions in which that energy functions. Hyle, the energy of the Caesurites' native dimension, interacts with Quiddity to create change and transmutation. It is the resulting energy, the essence of transformation which nourishes the Caesurite. There are a number of different kinds of Caesurite, but they all have this power to create change, a frenzied mutagenic power that alters reality.

The Caesurites exist beyond our dimensions – they operate in a non-Euclidean universe that we can only comprehend (if at all) via complex mathematical equations. Some Tellish Maestroes believe that the posited additional and separate universe of 9 or more dimensions is the true home of the Caesurites. It may be that they have explained the nature of the Barrier and its inhabitants all unknowingly.

The dangers of the Caesura are considerable. Though its natives are considered evil and destructive in Plasmal myth, in truth they are simply lawless, irrational, and incomprehensible by any method the Coil has to offer. Though they seek to possess bodies, so as to act in the Coil and experience it, and even though their mutagenic powers are still accessible from within the fleshy confines of a body, the real dangers lie in the problems facing the Caesura alone.

History of the Caesura

Facing these problems, and trying to find answers to the difficult questions raised, has been taken up by the Pale. One branch of the Pale, the Pilgrims, constantly monitor the Caesura, patching tears and noting Rents. They, and the Wardens, also deal with the increasing reports of Caesurite possession. The Wardens are the only branch to remain stationary, taking up a vigil at some particular site and making careful observaton of the Barrier.

The Pale are at the center of research concerning the Caesura and its history. Many theories have been proposed by Pale Maestroes concerning its origin, but only three have achieved any measure of success:

* The Caesura is a natural force, like an ocean or a thunderstorm. This theory developed out of the presence of the rare Caesura Quem. The few that have been identified have been immediately recruited into the Pale, and many spend their days communing with the Caesura and researching the majics that would restore either the Caesura itself or the Compact.

* By far the most popular and accepted theory is that the Caesura is the result of the interplay of the two Dominions. A corollary of this theory has it that the Tell was originally a Realm of the Plasm, changed by Lex developing in colonists. As Lex developed, it began to change the Hyle, and eventually strengthened it into the Caesura. The Caesurites are thus nothing more than Lex-manifested beings who adapted to the multidimensional existence the Caesura required.

* R'lyeh is the remnant of another Dominion, and native Caesurites are the original inhabitants. Researchers supporting this theory have yet to explain how this suggested Dominion came to its current state, though some suspect that the power of Lex may be involved. In this case, it builds on the foundation provided by the previous theory, and this is in large part the source of what little support it has gained.

Whatever the truth of its origins may be, the Worldwall has always been a barrier between the Dominions. Historically, however, it has been approached in a variety of ways. The most culturally significant of these approaches was the Church of Sapex.

The Sapexians believed that the Caesura was the door to Heaven, placed between the Dominions by unnamed deities. In some sects of the Sapexian Church, the deity which created the Barrier was itself called Caesura, a hermaphroditic being of incredible power and magic. A secular though spiritual organization, the Church of Sapex, named for its Seicus founder, accepted believers of all religions, and was one of the few unifying forces in early Plasmic history.

Eventually, a number of extreme dualistic religions (which embraced Heaven and Hell) found their way into the Plasm, and these individuals joined the Church in droves. In time, the fundamentalists outnumbered the moderates, and used their majority standing to stage a coup, sending "heretics" and Sapexian leaders into the Caesura to be judged by "the God". Renaming themselves the Brotherhood of the White Cross, they rewrote church dogma to state that the caesura was only open to the "pure" believer and that the unrighteous would be immediately sent to Hell. Of course, the dualistic viewpoint that they brought to the group meant that the Plasm was "the World", separated by the Barrier from Hell, that is, the Shoal home of the Tell.

In due course, the Worldwall was recognized as Purgatory, and adulterers, murderers, political malcontents, critics of the brotherhood, and other "sinners" were lynched and thrown into the Caesura. Because of the influence the BoWC enjoyed, and because of the fear with which they were regarded, they became the self-appointed judges of the Plasm. For more than 300 years, they wielded a stern iron fist over the Plasm, throwing thousands of "criminals" into the Caesura.

Eventually, their leader, a sullen Shimmer Maestro named Hawkins, was overthrown by a pair of Maestro "criminals", Scissor and Mantha, who were about to be thrown into the Barrier. With central leadership gone, and overwhelming hatred from the populace, the White Cross was broken, and Judges escaped in small bands, dispersing throughout the Coil. Ironically, because of their history, Judges found in the Plasm were usually lynched and subjected to their own punishment, and so the only strong cells that remain of the Brotherhood are found in the Tell. These extremists now hunt and kill Noom in the Tell as abominations in the God's eyes.
Bodies in the Barrier

Sadly, every person thrown into the Caesura throughout history, as well as those lost as they Pierced or crossed it, becomes a Caesurite of Tribe Oubliet. The vast majority go mad when their bodies are lost and minds reconfigured for multidimensional existence. All of the Oubliet lack the power to transform Lex and Majic, further weakening the Caesura's abilities to cause such transformation. The rampant insanity among the Oubliet also contributes to the problems they cause when they have possessed another.

A small number of Oubliet retain their sanity, however, and these consciousnesses are the ones most keenly searching for a way of escape. Only one individual has ever escaped to become a useful member of society, the Maestro Nehoc, who possessed the body of a mindless beast and reshaped it with a poweful Rapture. Still walking in world as a four-armed Nagah, Nehoc is the secret founder of the Pale, and makes use of his organizations members to discover a way to cleanse the Caesura of the insane Oubliet.

Piercing the Caesura

Since the Breaking, the proper ways to cross the Worldwall have been lost to all but a few Banna. Instead, individuals must resort to piercing it, an act which causes a miniscule point of damage in its fabric. As Piercing continues, the damage grows. After millenia, the Caesura is weakening, and gaping rents are allowing Caesurite escape. The Caesura's power to transform Quiddity is slowly seeping away, and without repair, the Rents may lead to collapse of the Barrier altogether. The consequences of dimensional collapse are likely to be catastrophic. The current problems facing the Coil seem like minor annoyances in comparison.

The only Tribe with the potential for crossing the Caesura without damaging it are the Banna. Even they have often lost the trick of it, and the few who remember have done what they can to stem the tide of Piercers by teaching it to the few they find who have the ability to master the technique. The problem lies in the fact that Crossing the Caesura, rather than Piercing it, opens one up to Caesurite possession and exposes one to the multidimensional reality. This can drive the unprepared mad. In addition, the Feit often requires particular components impossible to find in the Tell, leading to some Banna Maestroes hoarding ingredients. Some variations of the Feit also require multiple limbs or particular numen, severly restricting its potential use.

Repairing the Caesura

The Pale, particularly the Pilgrims, have taken on the task or repairing the Caesura, closing Rents and patching the damage left by Piercing, They are the primary monitors, but there are a few others out there doing what they can to prevent caesural collapse. Unfortunately, the Feits which effect repair are difficult to master, and more difficult to find.

Caesurites

Summoning Caesurites

Any Caesurite can be summoned, and many Maestroes with extreme viewpoints have done so. In exchange for carrying out their masters' commands, the Caesurites gain a physical body; the situation is not unlike summoning demons in popular Tellic mythology.

Though any living tissue can be possessed by a Caesurite, over time that tissue transforms. Whether this is caused by fitting extradimensional consciousness into a three-dimensional body, or because of the chaogenic powers of the caesurite, or for some other reason, is unknown. The possessed have rarely the mechanics of possession, and when they do, it is in opaque terminology that none have understood.

The Chant which summons a Caesurite is not a difficult one, though it is complex. The rarity of the Chant is a direct result of the danger that the Possessed pose to reality, a greater threat than that of Lex. The most active summoners can be found in Ghedde, which is also the source of the greatest numbers of Possessed. If the Chant is to be found, it will be in the shadier districts of Exlibro Turn in Ghedde.

Commonly summoned Caesurites:

  • Vhekkah – venomous and deadly hunters
  • Pillarmen – caterpillar beasts that eat everything
  • Homnoculi – inhuman servants that will summon other Caesurites
  • Qarid – tentacled spies that feed on Passion
  • Xel-do-xel – replicating and devouring like locusts
  • Gnidra – assassins, capable of turning men to stone
  • Sebek – reptilian shimmer become unstoppable regenerating soldiers
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