The Mirrorlands [Book of Oblivion]

Wraith: The Oblivion

Emerging from the Shadowlands ‘tis I, Matthew Dawkins.

The Book of Oblivion should be over with White Wolf for manuscript approval by the time this blog goes up, if we haven’t reached editing by that stage! It’s exciting to see another Wraith book near release, and even more exciting for me that we’ve been able to explore some of the other underworlds in this book. Stygia has always been the core setting for Wraith, but this book takes you into the Mirrorlands, the Dark Kingdom of Ivory, the Dark Kingdom of Obsidian, and more!

Here’s an extract from Dale Andrade’s piece on the Mirrorlands!

Haiti

Haiti is the heart and soul of the Mirrorlands, for it is where Mama Petro, the first Loa, made her triumphant return from The Island Below the Sea. She spread the teachings of Les Mysteres and shared their power in return for pledges of service. Reborn “Les Invisibles,” the Mirrorlands embraced their heritage and forged a new society from the ashes of the old.

Mama Petro formed Nanchons that quickly cemented her “Petro” faction as the strongest power in the Mirrorlands, encompassing almost three-quarters of Les Invisibles. She established steady two-way traffic between the Island Below the Sea and the Mirrorlands during the season between storms, spread Connaissance to keep the Baka at bay, and established a fleet of pirates and privateers to defend her realm from external foes.

The Petro could not abandon the living, so Mama Petro and her Loa reached through the Surface and rode Les Cheveux, inspiring them to shed their master’s chains. The Haitian Revolution began with a ceremony to Mama Petro who became “Erzulie,” after the potent vodou Loa of the same name. Free from servitude, Erzulie and the Petro ensured no person, living or dead, would be enslaved within their domain by eternally banishing slavery and soulforging from the Mirrorlands.

The connection between Lex Cheveaux and Les Invisibles established during the revolution never abated and vodou houngans and mambos routinely commune with Les Invisibles, establishing Fetters, sacrificing Relics and Pathos, and petitioning them for aid in times of need. Nowhere in the underworld is the use of Puppetry so prolific, or so welcome.

The Petro established their seat of power in Port-au-Prince, and their Nanchons dominate southern Haiti. Each Nanchon governs its own territory and assemble in times of need behind Erzulie or another potent Loa. Every territory and chosen hounfor is easily identified by the presence of a clearly-marked and brilliantly-rendered “vevé,” or symbol of the Nanchon’s patron Mystere.

One unique Nanchon is La Pologne based in Necropolis Cazale. Composed of Polish soldiers and their descendants who fought for Haiti during the revolution, La Pologne are firm supporters of Les Invisibles and stalwart defenders of the Mirrorlands, specializing in fighting Baka.      

Not every Les Invisible is a believer in the Petro cause. Papa Rada, a member of Erzulie’s original Nanchon, was there when she witnessed the fearsome majesty of Les Mysteres and the power they offered. Distrustful of Les Mysteres promises, Rada returned to the Mirrorlands to continue his unending fight against the Baka. Upon Erzulie’s return, he formed the Rada faction of Les Invisibles that offer firm (and often unheeded) warnings about the Petro and their masters, choosing freedom over servitude.

Representing a quarter of Les Invisibles, the Rada control northern Haiti and are firmly entrenched around Citadelle Laferrière, one of the largest fortresses in the Americas. The unique mixture of cow and goat blood in the Citadelle’s mortar renders it solid in the Mirrorlands and almost impervious to Baka attack. This imposing fortress is the heart of the Rada cause and Papa Rada’s personal seat of power. Rada Nanchons are largely situated around the former possessions of Haitian King Henry Christophe (rumored to be a Rada himself) and comprise a variety of chateaus, palaces, fortresses, and outposts. The Rada represent the older members of Les Invisibles and while on good terms with their Petro cousins, they seldom let their guard down. They are centrally organized with a hierarchy radiating downward from Papa Rada.   

Les Invisibles established their power throughout the Mirrorlands and beyond, holding some sway over every island in the Caribbean including large segments of the Dominican Republic, parts of Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Lesser Antilles, Cayman Islands, and Jamaica. They have outposts throughout the Dark Kingdoms and contacts among the seemingly inexhaustible rogues gallery of pirates, privateers, and treasure hunters that plague the Mirrorlands. Tortuga in particular hosts a fleet of privateers loyal to Les Invisibles, trading valuable relics, artifacts, and Pathos for safe harbor and access to wonders from The Island Below the Sea.

The Island Below the Sea is a majestic realm populated by Les Invisibles sworn to Les Mysteres. Attracted by the allure of lost secrets and potent artifacts, the Island’s populace engages in a great circle of servitude with their enigmatic masters, for as Loa ride Les Cheveaux, Les Mysteres ride the Loa. Two-way traffic brings new wraiths to the Island, while Loa and traders return with the bounty of Les Mysteres’ bottomless vaults. Les Mysteres’ temples tremble with power and take many forms, but are easily identified by their vibrant hues and mountainous offerings of Champaign, rum, and tobacco.

Necropolis Port-au-Prince

Port-au-Prince is the jewel in the Mirrorland’s Carnival crown. Easily the Mirrorland’s most powerful Necropolis, Port-au-Prince is home to half the Les Invisibles in Haiti. Its bustling Tempest port brings great wealth to the city in trade goods from The Island Below the Sea and Les Invisibles’ pirate allies, many of whom plied the Caribbean during the Age of Sail, and raid the Kingdoms of Iron, Ivory, and Jade with great enthusiasm. The color red is king in Port-au-Prince, for it is the color of the Petro, with scant bastions of Rada white offering contrast in more sedate parts of the city.    

Port-au-Prince is vibrant to the point of madness, a place where half the population appears to be under the control of their Shadows, while the other half trade knowing glances as if sharing a joke at the visitor’s expense. The city is a complex mélange of Pathos born of grinding misery and ecstatic emotion. A riotous panoply of garish colors, frenetic drum beats, brilliant vevé, and the competing odors of rum and gunpowder assault new arrivals. Les Invisibles sing and dance in the streets as skin-ridden Le Cheveux caper about in red and black painted hounfors. Through all this, the Loa stand tall, crackling with power, and affecting the eccentric dress and mannerisms of their patron Mystere.

The destruction and loss of life caused by the 2010 earthquake flooded Port-au-Prince with an embarrassment of riches the fire-blooded Petro were quick to exploit as they bickered over who had rightful claim to the ocean of relics and haunts that crossed the Shroud. The direct intervention of Erzulie kept the situation from exploding into violence, but resentment still lingers.   

Erzulie Danto — The Petro Queen

Erzulie Danto, known simply as “Erzulie” or “Mama Petro,” is the founder of the Petro faction and singular most powerful Loa in the Mirrorlands. She was one of the first slaves brought to the New World and one of the first to escape. She fought her masters in the Visible, Fisher Reapers in the Mirrorlands, and Baka in the Abyss until finding the Island Below the Sea and Les Mysteres. Erzulie accepted all the power Les Mysteres had to offer and never looked back, founding the Mirrorlands and igniting the Haitian Revolution. She will not rest until the last vestiges of Fisher dominion are swept from the Mirrorlands, then she will turn her attention to the Dark Kingdoms that engage in soulforging and slavery. For all her fury, Erzulie often mediates disputes between competing Nanchons. Few dare oppose her judgement, and she offers pragmatic and uncanny insight to those brave enough to seek it.

Erzulie’s diplomacy is far from limited to the Invisible. After a brief period of conflict, she forged a mutually beneficial alliance between Les Invisibles and a small, but potent, faction of rotting vampires. The exact details of this alliance are unknown, but allegedly involve a vampire known as “Mambo Asogwe.” Erzulie is silent on the subject, but those that pry too deeply quickly find themselves imprisoned in the rotting shells of the not-so-recently deceased.        

Erzulie radiates the force of her implacable will, her eyes concealing an unsettling admixture of barely-contained rage, vengeance, and ancient wisdom. Her Nanchon is predominantly composed of Loa, and her blue and red clad form is usually found near her new hounfor, the recently destroyed Cathédrale Notre-Dame de L’Assomption in Port-au-Prince. The cathedral was a coveted prize after the Haiti earthquake, but no Nanchon disputed Erzuli’s claim after her vevé appeared over the Cathédrale’s rose window.

  3 comments for “The Mirrorlands [Book of Oblivion]

  1. Holly Saiki
    November 13, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Nice to see the other Dark Kingdoms getting revamped, although I admit I’m looking forward to the write-up on Redeemed Spectres. Out of curiosity, will there be more Shadow archetypes?

  2. Phaolan
    November 16, 2018 at 8:13 pm

    I cannot say how excited I am for this book. Wraith: The Oblivion is a hard game to like for a lot of us who don’t put time and energy into it, but after a little effort you’ll see that there’s so much here to love! Wr20 gave us EXACLTLY what I craved from the core book, but yeah, I want more. I’m glad we’re gettting it.

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