By Anders Sandberg (firstname.lastname@example.org) (25 Oct 94)
The Seekers of the Void are one of the most insidious and subtle groups of Nephandi undermining reality. Their goal is simply to end all of existence, to annihilate everything that exists and have ever existed.
Existence is pain. The Seekers seek to end all pain and suffering by achieving union with the eternal Void, the state of perfect nothingness where nothing exists or changes. All living beings suffer, but most hide it under a veneer of transient pleasures and even think themselves happy. Death offers no relief, since everything is reincarnated and forced to suffer again. There is no simple way to escape from existence. Since its a closed system, entropy is slowly overtaking everything, moving it towards a state of eternal stasis where nothing will ever change and nothing will be able to escape. The other mages seek to bring about their visions of perfection, essentially locking reality into a pattern they like for eternity, also denying everyone release from suffering.
To extinguish something completely, it's not enough to destroy it, since it will be reincarnated into something else and continue to suffer, and its Quintessence will spread to form new patterns of pain. At most destruction can save someone from a particularly painful existence. To destroy something truly, its necessary to actually remove its Quintessence from reality altogether. According to most mages, this is completely impossible. The Seekers believe that it is possible, and have the methods to achieve it. They do this by channelling Quintessence into the Void, letting its total nothingness extinguish the faint sparks of existence. Other mages claim they just spread out the Quintessence into the farthest reaches of the Deep Umbra, not actually destroying it.
The Seekers are very discreet mages, doing their best to be left alone to their mission. They don't worship the Void, since it cares nothing about sacrifices or prayers. Instead they try to get as close they can to It while living, and to dissolve in it when they die. They have developed a form of the Good Death which hopefully will send the soul of the victim into the Void or at least as close as possible. They usually administer this to their own, but also tries to help others if they can. However, this is of subordinate importance to their great work and often draws unwanted attention to their activities.
Their Great Work consists of undermining reality as much as possible, to let its existence slowly leak down into the Void. This is a very hard project, but the Seekers are dedicated and extremely patient. Their main method is to gather information and plan for a long time, and then suddenly make a surgical strike at weak points in reality. They dislike unnecessary fuss and often do their best to avoid hurting people. As targets they usually seek out nodes and other significant places. They try to open wells down into the Void, to make the Quintessence leak out. Other targets are more subtle, like certain places and times which seems to have importance to the Seekers but appear completely random to everyone else. In the long run they try to create as many leaks and instabilities in reality as possible, hoping to bleed away the Quintessence. Hopefully, existence will slowly fade away and give place for blessed Oblivion.
The Seekers avoid worldly things as much as possible, and usually live ascetic lives. They spend much time meditating, freeing their minds from irrelevant thoughts and seeking the Void. Most prefer simple clothing, often in pure black or white. Many shave their heads like monks. In general, they surround themselves with austerity and as little as possible. Their meeting-places are often huge rooms, where the Void is implied by the emptiness.
Although the Traditions, the Technocracy and sometimes other Nephandi have fought them at many different times and places, the Seekers of the Void are not very well known. They have a tendency to just slip away, or hide their views behind the views of other traditions which makes them hard to trace. They have from time to time infiltrated other Traditions and different chantries and subtly spread their ideas. They continue to do this to this day, often posing as Orphans, Euthanatos or Akashic Brothers. While many of the more experienced or enlightened mages can see the hidden dangers in their teachings, many of the younger and more inexperienced mages risk getting trapped.
When attacked, the Seekers are almost always defensive. They usually just try to escape their attackers. If they cannot escape they calmly accept their fate, and turn inward hoping to reach the Void if they are killed. In some cases, the Seekers suddenly strike back if they see a chance to seriously weaken the opposition. However, in most cases they just calmly try to explain themselves to their enemies and make them understand the truth. In fact, attackers might find themselves confronted with an invitation to tea and rice-cookies.
Philosophy: "Buddha said: 'Everything is transitory'. The only truly eternal state is Nirvana, which is not only the total emptiness and perfection of the mind, but also of the whole of existence. We seek this blessed Void, and want to help everyone who seeks release to eventually reach it."
Initiation: The Seekers recruit their members from those who have truly understood the pain of existence, and seek to end it. Those not judged fit to join the Seekers are usually given the Good Death out of mercy (this is often camouflaged as a suicides). The recruits are frequently given a vision of the eternal Void, where existence itself dissolves and nothing remains. Some choose to loose themselves in It, while others return as mages to help the rest of existence. They also recruit members from other Traditions, mainly the Euthanatos and Akashic Brothers, but this is rare.
Acolytes: Buddhists, Mystics, Seekers of purity.
Concepts: Monk, Philosopher, Cultist
Meetings: All days are equally holy, or profane, from the Seeker point of view. They rarely gather together, preferring to seek the Void in meditation. Respected members sometimes attract groups of students, who gather to hear their teachings when they judge it proper to speak.
Organisation: The Seekers have no central organisation, instead they group together in autonomous cabals which act independently and with no knowledge of each other. The cabals are usually fairly democratic, often ruled by consensus.
Chantries: Many Seeker cabals lack permanent chantries, preferring to remain mobile. The Seekers who take up permanent residence seldom build anything which could be called labyrinths, their chantries look quite ordinary even on the inside. Most are very hard to tell from austere apartments or empty warehouses. However, the feeling of emptiness and silence is often oppressive, and everything seem dampened.
There are rumours of bigger chantries in the Deep Umbra, where the greatest Seekers guide the younger cabals and develop new ways to end existence. One of these chantries is rumoured to be located in the City of Pyramids, on the edge of the Abyss.
Sphere: The Seekers specialise in Prime, the manipulation of Existence. They also place great importance in Entropy and Spirit, while most other spheres at most are regarded as tools or irrelevant. They mainly use Spirit to travel into the Umbra and open portals towards the Void, not to summon spirits. In fact, the Seekers regard most spirits as fairly unpredictable and too selfish to be of any use. Entropy is used to disperse things and end their current existence.
The Technocracy: They desperately try to build barriers against the unknown and any change, to lock us all within their dead world. This is mainly irrelevant, since they just manipulate things within existence. If they build a wall, we circumvent it or work from both sides. Their single-minded fear of the unknown makes them vulnerable to the emptiness.
"As Nephandi go, these are fairly benign. Their passivity makes them hard to find, but they are easy to terminate."
The Traditions: Just like the Technocracy too involved in petty games of reality manipulation. What is important is not Reality, but non-Reality. However, due to their fragmented nature and more flexible way of thinking, they can accept our views much better.
"The Seekers are among the most dangerous of all enemies of Ascension! They will not fight you, but snare you in reasonable explanations and philosophy until they have turned you into one of them."
The Marauders: They seek to play their games of existence, not caring about the pain and suffering they cause. They are truly inhuman.
The other Nephandi: Many of them serve beings from the Great Unknown, fighting in the idiotic war about reality. A few others have understood, even a few of the beings, and support us. But be careful, their alienness is dangerous and prevents them from seeing that the Void should be sought out of mercy, not hate.
"They deserve the silence they seek."
The Wraiths: Some of the dead get trapped in a state between life and death, not daring to go further, unable to return to life. Its our duty to help these unfortunate souls to find their way into the Void.
Some members are recruits from other traditions, and thus use their own foci, others use the following:
Quote: "Existence is the Great Mistake."
See the Pillars of Pain (Prime 1 Entropy 1): The Seekers are constantly on the lookout for things, places or people who are of vital importance to existence in order to destroy or sabotage them. These pillars can be almost anything, ranging from nodes to certain housewives or a hallway in a museum. If they are truly destroyed, a little bit of the stability of existence is lost forever. Some Seekers spend much of their time looking for these pillars, often using Correspondence to locate them from afar and Time to find the exact right moment to strike.
Scatter the Dust (Prime 4 Spirit 2 Entropy 2): Although at this level of Prime the mage is not skilled enough to totally remove Quintessence, he can use this rote to scatter it over the whole of existence. The mage releases the Quintessence, and briefly meditates upon how it is evenly spread throughout the world.
Open the Void (Spirit 4 Prime 4): This opens up a well into the Void, or at least the Deepest Umbra. It literally destroys reality, opening a yawning Void in its place. It is commonly performed by silent meditation, often by a whole group of Seekers in a circle. Inside the circle reality dissolves and opens up into a Void. Around the Void reality flows and changes in unpleasant ways, sometimes spontaneously rupturing further. Everything that enters the Void dissolves into nothingness.
[ The mage must break through the gauntlet (like Breach the Gauntlet) to create a true, somewhat stable Void. Otherwise it will just become a major Paradox warp instead. Anything inside the Void will dissolve into nothingness at a frightening rate (twice the number of successes per turn). To heal an expanding Void, the spirit rote "Sustain Existence" has to be used.]
End (Prime 5): This rote is the central secret of the Seekers. It can dissolve any pattern and makes the Quintessence forming it vanish totally. The destroyed object is impossible to retrieve, even using Time magick.
[ Whether the Quintessence is totally destroyed or just channelled into a totally inaccessible state is unknown. The Seekers know what they think. ]