The Wandering Walk
No one knows the exact length of the Wander, nor can anyone point to its exact beginning or end. Many people speculate that the Wander is actually a closed circle that encloses the whole of the Ninth World and that some travelers, especially those with enhancements or otherworldly attributes, have been trekking its eternal loop since before recorded time.
Those who follow the Wander for religious, spiritual, or other reasons are called Peregrines or just Birds (though the latter term is usually derogatory). Although their dress varies, true Peregrines bear some mark of the Wander. Typically, the mark is an elaborate and continually growing circular bloodscar along their palm; there is little else to do along the Wander when one is not wandering, and the intricate nature of the scar gives bragging rights to show how long a traveler has survived along the way. Experienced Peregrines carry the scar up the length of their arm or on both palms.
Of course, there are also many who trek the Wander for other kinds of growth — namely the growth of their pockets. These skulkers who come to borrow from the bodies of the fallen often become inadvertent pilgrims themselves, either getting lost along the route or walking it to find a home where they can settle with their newfound spoils. They don’t generally make it far before they fall to the elements or to the hand of another skulker.
And thus the Wander captures all within its eternal length.
Those traveling the Wandering Walk slowly develop a bloodscar — an elaborate and continually growing circular pattern of crimson that begins on their palms. Experienced peregrines will find that the scar extends up the length of their arms. Every peregrine’s scar is unique and there are some tellers who say that they can read the story of a walker in their scar, although whether there’s any real truth to that is hard to say.
What is certain, however, is that peregrines traveling the Walk can often tell which direction to follow by touching and meditating upon their bloodscar. The path of the bloodscar is, in fact, what determines the route of the Wandering Walk.
LORE OF THE WANDERING WALK
The path of the bloodscar is not always reliable, but various markers have also been left along the various stretches of the Walk.
The true lore of the Wandering Walk, however, comes from the fact that it is walked in both directions along its length. Thus declining peregrines (whose count of stretches descends from one number to the next) often encounter ascending peregrines (whose count of stretches ascends from one number to the next). Rumors, tales, and truths are passed freely back and forth: Thus a descending might learn of a roving band of skullhunters a few days further up the Walk from an ascending peregrine who avoided them himself, but heard the warning from a descending peregrine a year ago who had barely escaped from them.
Credit to the Alexandrian