Avatars and Journeying

Once an Avatar has mastered his frame of reference, he is basically immortal, because there is no external pressure on his energy from the Nexus (this aspect of the Nexus makes it unique from the rest of the Multiverse). However, the Nexus itself evolves in an infinite number of permutations, and Avatars who have spent a long time in the Nexus may decide at any time to leave it, at which point they become susceptible to the normal conditions of the Universe they enter. Since the Nexus connects to the rest of the Multiverse at all points and at all times, it is easy for an Avatar to leave. Except in very rare circumstances, once an Avatar leaves the Nexus, he will never find his way back. Thus, Avatars choose some point in their existence to retire and finish out a normal "lifetime" in the universe and timeframe of their choice.

But generally, Avatars stay in the Nexus for a very long time, because the Nexus is a paradise of infinite proportions. In the first place, there is an infinite amount of interaction that Avatars have with each other, which means that there is very little time to get bored. Avatars spend much of their existence growing in power, challenging each other for status and enjoying the incredible variety of activities in the Nexus. Also, the Nexus provides an infinite amount of entertainment for Avatars, in the form of skill challenges and games. Avatars can play wargames, board games, card games and many other type of games in a structured system which is rewarded by the Nexus itself. All of this will be explained in the following sections.

But perhaps the most intriguing aspect of life in the Nexus is a very special method of visiting the rest of the Multiverse that all Avatars (even new ones) can enjoy. The Nexus controls portals (called Gateways) to specific destinations at specific times, which groups of Avatars can travel to safely. These groups are led by one or more experienced Avatars called "Chaperones", and they lead their party for a brief, set period of time. This is called "Journeying", and Avatars who embark on Journeys are called "Wanderers". When an Avatar Journeys, he gives up his physical incarnation and is encased in protective energy which allows him to come back to the Nexus through the Gateway he left. Since Avatars who Journey are basically pure energy again, they must find a "Host" to exist in for the brief period of time that they are Wandering.

A Wanderer merges his energy with that of the selected Host, and basically takes over the Host for the length of the Journey. A Wanderer is in complete control of the Host, so he inherits all of the Host's special abilities. The Host is aware of the Wanderer's presence during the time of the merge, but immediately loses all memory of the Wanderer once he leaves. The Wanderer, on the other hand, has all of his memory intact during all times, and can sometimes even use his energy to enhance the Host's capabilities.

By Journeying, Avatars can visit anywhere in the Multiverse that they can find a Host, learning all about other cultures, universes and frames of reference. New Gateways are constantly being opened in the Nexus as researchers find and chart new universes and new times. In many cases, an Avatar will find one or two favorite spots to Journey to, and will return often to the same Host to have many different adventures. The Nexus places no limit on the amount of Journeying an Avatar can do, other than the necessary time limit of each Journey. Wandering does take a lot of effort, though, and Avatars need rest between Journeys anyway. The Nexus rewards Wanderers in the same way it reward Avatars who win skill challenges - by allowing them to absorb and use more energy (explained later).

Although the time limit represents the absolute amount of time a Wanderer can remain outside the Nexus, a Journey will end abruptly with the death of a Host. As soon as a Host dies (however death is defined in that universe), the Wanderer is immediately returned to the Nexus. When this happens, the Nexus does not reward the Avatar, as the Nexus does not like having its elite inhabitants destroying the hosts they employ (whether or not it was the Avatar's fault is irrelevant).

Perhaps the greatest achievement of an Avatar is finding his own definition of "paradise" in the Multiverse, and retiring there permanently to live out the rest of his existence. Sometimes it is for love, sometimes it is for power, and sometimes it is just because he has grown tired of immortality. In any event, the Nexus releases him with its blessing, and although he can never return, every once in a while in his now finite life, the Nexus might tweak his fate in some small way that reminds him of who he once was.

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