|“||They're more like the ugly stepsister. Travelers have a grudge toward anyone that draws their magic from Nature. Something about witches cursing the land to turn it against them. Now they're on the move.||”|
The Travelers are a mysterious, several millennia old, once powerful, cursed sub-culture of witches who have presumably been transmitting the knowledge of their spells from one generation to another since their emergence around the time of the Roman Empire, in modern Europe. Silas and Qetsiyah were said to be the most powerful members during their time, and possibly the two most powerful members of all time. However, Silas became immortal, rendering him unable to practice magic, and Qetsiyah was later killed by the group for making immortality achievable. They also kept Amara's body, which was used as the anchor for the Other Side, hidden for thousands of years until Qetsiyah brought herself back to life and located it with her magic.
Very little is known about the structure of the group, but membership seems to be earned by birthright and people are still considered members even when they lose the ability to use their magical powers, such as, for example, as a result of becoming a vampire. True to their name, Travelers adopt a nomadic lifestyle; they are constantly on the move. For this reason, it is possible for outside factions to hire their services at the right price. The group serves as the de-facto main antagonists of the fifth season. Tensions have been rising between the Travelers and other witch covens for centuries, and the threat of war is in the air.
In Resident Evil, Markos explains that, after Silas and Qetsiyah created the spell for immortality, it caused a schism among the witches. Some were conservatives who wanted to maintain the balance of nature by not using magic to create abnormalities such as the Immortals; this faction eventually became all those Witches who wanted to serve nature. On the other hand, a group of witches that would become the Travelers known today believed that they could use their pure magic to perform greater things much like a member of theirs, Qetsiyah had created immortality. The witches, fearing the power the Travelers possessed and the things they could do to the world, placed a curse on the their entire sub-culture to prevent them from using traditional forms of magic and from gathering and settling as a tribe. The curse made them who they are due to it's effects. The Travelers created a new form of magic and found ways around the curse such as the creation of the Passengers so they could gather without fear of repercussions, and without the witches noticing.
It is worth noting that despite being nothing more than cursed witches with mastery over a darker form of witchcraft, Travelers deny the fact that they are witches, possibly due to the hate and jealousy they feel towards all witches, stating that once the Travelers were cursed, perversions of pure magic appeared, much to their dismay, which caused a dramatic and irreversible change in their very nature as a species. Witches share this too, as they directly deny that the Travelers are witches, most likely out of contempt.
The Travelers were an ancient community of gifted witches who apparently used powerful magic to achieve great things, including things that were frowned upon by other witches. Qetsiyah and Silas were two members of the Travelers and considered to be their most powerful members. However, things changed for the Travelers when the two created a spell for immortality. When it was used on Silas and Amara, it caused a severe schism in the entire witch community, possibly over the subject of immortality itself and the possibilities that came with being a witch.
The community was divided between those witches who sought to preserve what they saw as the natural balance of the world by using their powers for that aim, and those who believed they could use it to do anything. Fearing the power that could be unleashed on the world thanks to this use of magic, a group of powerful witches called upon The Spirits and then placed a curse on Qetsiyah's entire coven. The curse prevented them from gathering as a tribe, an act which would cause disasters such as plagues, fires and earthquakes whenever they gathered. Also, they no longer had access to traditional magic sources.
However, the Travelers eventually discovered that the curse only prevented them from gathering inside their own bodies and that only magic coming from the Earth was forbidden to them. They discovered a different way to practice magic and used it to create the Passengers, as a means to gather undetected by the other witches and for them to avoid the curse, by using other people's bodies. The Travelers also remained together and avoided the curse by never stopping anywhere more than one night. This also allowed them to prevent the witches from finding them. witch covens, such as the Gemini Coven, tried to track the Travelers for millennia but they were never able to find them. This led to centuries of war between the Travelers and the witches. The Travelers also begun to believe that the now-dominant form of magic, Spirit Magic, was a perversion of the magic they considered to be 'pure' and they became determined to have their revenge on the witches by destroying that perversion.
Hope remained for the Travelers as an ancient prophecy stated that the blood of the Doppelgängers, the shadow-shelves of Silas and Amara, would be able to reverse Spirit magic. It would also allow them to lift the curse placed on them. However, as the doppelgängers were separated, their leader in the 5th century, Markos, cast a spell which would make them fall in love with one another to make them easier to find (Markos died eventually and went to the Other Side where he continued to lead the Travelers for the next 1 500 years). However, for the blood of the doppelgängers to work, it needed to be only the very last remaining pair. For that to happen, both the other doppelgängers and their originals needed to die. In order to accomplish their goal, the Travelers tried to get their hands on Silas and Amara but a vengeful Qetsiyah had imprisoned Silas on a desolate island with the only known cure for immortality. Amara had been mummified by Qetsiyah and her death had been faked to hurt Silas. Unable to get their hands on Silas, the Travelers killed Qetsiyah and took Amara's dessicated body which they kept for 2 000 years.
For the next 2,000 years, the Travelers wandered the world, evading the witches and seeking the doppelgängers. Nadia Petrova, a vampire descended from a Traveler line (and whose mother, Katerina, was one of Amara's doppelgängers), claimed that, given their few possessions, the Travelers often sold their services, possibly as mercenary witches.
Throughout The Vampire Diaries SeriesI Know What You Did Last Summer, Gregor, with Nadia's help, possessed Matt through a spell.
In True Lies, Silas' pursuit of Katherine leads him to a confrontation with Matt, where he quickly finds out he cannot control Matt with his powers. By probing Matt's mind, he finds out that Gregor is possessing him, and that is why he can't compel Matt. Later, Gregor and Nadia confront Silas at the gas station where he went to get a "snack". Gregor reveals his intention of entombing Silas once again and Nadia says this is the goal of The Travelers. Before Gregor can do anything, he is killed by Nadia who reveals that she has no intention of doing what the Travelers want and has an agenda that Silas seems to benefit from.
In Monster's Ball, Qetsiyah reveals that the Travelers killed her, possibly because of her part in creating the Immortality Spell. She also reveals that they took the anchor to the Other Side and have been hiding it for 2,000 years.
In Handle with Care, a couple of Travelers arrive at the location where Amara's petrified body is hidden. They attack Damon, and Damon kills them. One of the Travelers is then used to revive and nourish Amara.
In Dead Man on Campus, it is revealed by the spirit of Gregor that the Travelers' mission is to find and kill Katherine. Katherine said she hated Travelers because all they do is lie while she reveals that Nadia's grandfather was a Traveler.
In Fifty Shades of Grayson, Katherine reveals that her father was a Traveler, which means a magical gene runs in her family.
In 500 Years of Solitude, Nadia brings Elena and Stefan to an abandoned house where they'll find a Traveler who will help Nadia save Katherine. Nadia tricks Elena and Stefan with the house full of Travelers who want doppelgängers for unknown reasons. So the Travelers corner Elena and Stefan, and takes two buckets of there blood, and let them go afterwards. A fellow Traveler teaches Katherine the spell, and later Katherine uses the spell on Elena to become a passenger in her body.
In The Devil Inside, Mia completes the spell which gives Katherine permanent control of Elena's body. Katherine then kills Mia.
In Total Eclipse of the Heart, Sloan offers Wes money and protection and in return he would analyze doppelgänger blood. Later the Travelers help bring down Damon and Enzo, as Wes injects Damon with the ripper serum.
In No Exit, the Travelers seal Damon and Enzo in a farmhouse so Wes could observe how long Damon would last before he fed on his best friend. When Damon started to feed, they raised the acidity of Enzo's blood so that Damon wouldn't be able to kill as Wes still needed him.
In While You Were Sleeping, Caroline is looking for a cure to Damon and Elena's ripper virus (which she was injected by Katherine and is different given that it has werewolf venom in it), Enzo comes to her and tells her that he has the cure but that before he gives it, the Travelers need Stefan. At an abandoned rail yard, Enzo and Sloan explain to Stefan and Caroline that, when Wes rescued Enzo from Damon, it was because he needed him to create the cure for the ripper virus. The Travelers had also created a cure for Elena because they need her alive. Sloan then reveals that the last two doppelgängers were special, especially when their bloods were combined. However, the Travelers had discovered that one of Stefan's doppelgängers still existed (most probably due to the line of his bastard half-brother). In order for Elena and Stefan to be the last doppelgängers, they needed this doppelgänger to die. While Enzo took the cure to Elena and Damon, Sloan and the Travelers linked Stefan's mind to his doppelgängers and tried to kill him but Caroline forced them to stop before they harmed Stefan too much. In exchange, she agreed to go to Atlanta with Enzo and kill the doppelgänger.
In Promised Land, the Travelers set their plan into motion. With several of them already Passenger-ed into many of Mystic Fall's residents, they began chanting their Purification Spell, turning the town into a 'Magic-free' zone of sorts where all forms of Magic other than their own were negated. But that didn't stop there; the effect extended beyond the borders of the town. The spell was halted before it could spread by Stefan's death.
In Home, the Travelers start to move into Mystic Falls which has been evacuated by Sheriff Forbes (with the cover of a major gas leak). Although Stefan's death halted the spell, Mystic Falls and its surrounding areas are still affected and all supernatural beings created by witch magic going into the town lose that magic. Markos proves this to the Sheriff by killing Tyler/Julian by forcing him into the magic-free zone, which reverts him back to his dead state. Sheriff Forbes later invites all the Travelers to the Mystic Grill with a free buffet so she can establish ground rules about them living in the town but the celebrations of their new home prevents her from talking. Markos also tries to convince Sheriff Forbes to join the new Traveler community as their Sheriff. Before she can answer, she smells gas and both she and Markos enter the backroom where a real major gas leak is occurring. As Markos tries to investigate it, Sheriff Forbes knocks him out with her gun. It is revealed that she had drawn the Travelers into the Grill so that Damon could kill them all by driving his car into a gas-filled zone (the gas had been liberated by Matt Donovan and Jeremy Gilbert), killing all the Travelers which would allow them to cast a spell to bring back all their friends who had died from the Other Side. Damon and Elena drive the car into the Mystic Grill, killing Markos and all the assembled Travelers. The plan succeeds and they manage to overwhelm the Anchor, just as they had when Markos had returned from the dead. Markos tries to return like he had before but he is stopped by Lexi who holds him off long enough for the darkness to suck him into oblivion. While Lexi stays, sacrificing herself and finding peace.
Purification of Magic
The real goal of the Travelers for the last 2000 years was to undo the Traveler's Curse and get rid of Spirit Magic. Since Spirit Magic was used to curse the witches now known as Travelers, by cutting them off from Traditional Magic, the consequence of their plan to break the curse is to break all spirit magic, and with it, purify all other forms of magic besides the type of witchcraft they used before the curse was placed upon them.
It is only revealed in Promised Land, that this is their true goal, as prior, all that was known about them was that they seek a home and to be full-functioning witches again. The only way to break their curse is indirect as only through destroying the magic that cursed them can they reverse the curse on them. Practically all forms of witchcraft unbalancing in Travelers' eyes will be purified while all of the witches in the world will be dis-empowered as the spell spreads, seen when Liv and Luke started losing their power.
According to Markos' words, the spell has numerous purposes. The first one is to purify all forms of witchcraft and undo all Spirit Magic, which in the process will undo the curse on the Travelers, and give them the ability to settle down as a tribe, have access to traditional magic again, and be normal witches.
A world-wide consequence of the spell though is the fact that since it undoes all witch magic, it will undo everything created by witch magic, meaning all the creations of witchcraft throughout the centuries, including vampirism, will go extinct as they fall under the spell's effects as it spreads. That means that vampires will go back to their final state in their human life, which is death, while hybrids will become werewolves again then die. Markos claims this is the way of the Travelers to fix the balance. According to his claims, the magic they practiced 2000 years ago is the only pure form of magic, which is reasonable seeing as traditional magic is actually the first type of magic known and is claimed to be the purest form of witchcraft by many witches.
The spell will start with dozens of bodies inhabited by the Travelers as they all, through doppelgänger blood start chanting while their vessels, the humans slowly die by blood loss. As the spell starts spreading, all forms of witchcraft will be stripped away, layer by layer until no magic deemed impure is left in existence. The effects of the spell will be:
- Vampire Extinction: Due to vampires being a creation of the dark magic form of Spirit Magic, they will slowly start feeling their human deaths while becoming human at a slow rate. Finally, if they don't manage to get out of the spell's range, they will become fully human and enter the last stage of their life - death.
- Hybrid Extinction: Considering hybrids too are a creation of impure magic, they will slowly start feeling their werewolf deaths which will soon return them to their previous state, a werewolf, and enter the last stage of their werewolf life - death.
- Purification of Magic: As the Travelers deem all magic besides their own (Traditional Magic) impure and unbalancing, the spell they are performing will, as it spreads slowly neutralize all forms of witchcraft besides Traditional magic. This will then disempower all witches over the world who use a different type of magic than the earth's power.
- Undoing of The Travelers' Curse: Seeing as 2000 years ago, Travelers were a powerful coven of witches cursed into a nomadic life-style as well as massive dis-empowerment in magic, their goal is to break the curse. So, once they unravel all Spirit magic as well as other forms of witchcraft, the curse on them will lift which will turn them back into the powerful witches they were 2000 years ago. Since the spell in question will dis-empower witches who use magic different to traditional magic, it is possible that once the curse is broken, the Travelers will be the only witches left, unless other witches turn to traditional magic once their own is stripped.
- Weakening of Witches: Due to the spell destroying all forms of witchcraft besides Traditional magic, there is a wide possibility it will leave almost every witch in the world powerless, seeing as most modern witches don't use Traditional magic anymore, instead, they delve into other sources of more power despite Traditional magic being their true magic. Though, it still wouldn't mean complete extinction as all of the dis-empowered witches will still have access to traditional magic if they know how to practice it.
- Extinction of Other Magics: Seeing as the spell obliterates all forms of witchcraft besides Traditional Magic, that means that there won't be more forms of magic anymore like dark magic or such. Instead, all of the witches will have to use Traditional Magic again due to it being the only type of witchcraft left, like they did 2000 years ago, however, seeing as all other kinds of magic came from Traditional Magic, they would probably be remade over time.
- The spell's Incantation: Z'ah Pet Par Veet Eezo. Ehmit Pro Kleh Et Tee.
- Main article: Traveler Magic
Traveler Magic isn't a type of magic by itself but more of a way around the curse, created and utilized by the Travelers ever since its creation. While Traveler magic draws on each member's personal power, but due to the curse, the amount of power they can draw from themselves is extremely weak, which is the reason Travelers are usually required to perform spells in groups when normal witches can perform alone. They are seemingly unable to channel nature having been cursed to turn against them and usually source for alternate means for power such as doppelgänger blood.
- I Know What You Did Last Summer (Gregor, Nadia, Katherine)
- True Lies (Gregor, Nadia renounces membership, Katherine)
- Original Sin (Gregor and Qetsiyah presently, Silas in flashbacks, Katherine)
- For Whom the Bell Tolls (Gregor)
- Monster's Ball (Qetsiyah, Katherine)
- Handle with Care (Qetsiyah, Silas, Kristof, Rene, Katherine)
- Death and the Maiden (Qesiyah, Silas, Katherine)
- Dead Man on Campus (Gregor, Katherine)
- The Cell (Katherine)
- Fifty Shades of Grayson (Katherine)
- 500 Years of Solitude (Mia, Katherine, Katherine's family, Ivan, unnamed members; first appearance as a large group)
- The Devil Inside (Mia, Katherine)
- Total Eclipse of the Heart (Sloan, Wes, unnamed members, Katherine)
- No Exit (Wes, unnamed members, Katherine)
- Gone Girl (Wes, Katherine)
- While You Were Sleeping (Sloan, unnamed members, Katherine in hallucination)
- Rescue Me (Markos, Sloan, unnamed members)
- Resident Evil (Markos, Julian, unnamed members)
- Man on Fire (Markos, Sloan, Julian, unnamed members)
- What Lies Beneath (Markos, Julian, Maria, unnamed members)
- Promised Land (Markos, Julian, Maria, Carl, unnamed members)
- Home (Markos, Julian, unnamed members)
- Markos †
- Mr. Petrov (Possibly) †
- Katerina's Sister (Possibly) †
- Carl †
- Gregor †
- Ivan †
- Katerina Petrova †
- Kristof †
- Mia †
- Rene †
- Sloan †
- Unnamed members †
*† indicates deceased
- According to Silas, they were once referred to as gypsies; though, he may have been merely insulting them.
- According to Nadia, their main goal was to entomb Silas once again. After the death of Silas, they've turned their attention to Katherine.
- They were responsible for Qetsiyah's death.
- It is apparently possible for Travelers to resign from their status. Doing so renders them powerless but in exchange also spares them from their curse, allowing them to obtain permanent residence. This was presumably in the case of Katherine's father and their household.
- They were the guardians of the anchor to the Other Side, which they stole after they killed Qetsiyah.
- They are big on spirit possession.
- Katherine stated that Nadia's grandfather was a Traveler in Dead Man on Campus.
- They carry blades that are capable of killing the passengers lying within the bodies of others.
- According to Mia, they are unable to access traditional magic for unknown reasons, so they have to improvise.
- In 500 Years of Solitude, Mia called Elena's cellphone to summon Katherine as a Passenger, right after Katherine performed the spell to transfer herself into Elena's body. This implies they might be able to sense if one of their members have performed a spell, or if a Passenger spell have been used.
- The Travelers seem to have a strong interest in doppelgängers.
- Wes managed to team up with the Travelers to take down Damon and Enzo. Sloan wants Wes to analyze Stefan and Elena's blood.
- Tensions are rising between the Travelers and other witch covens, and there is the possibility of war.
- Markos is the leader of the Travelers in present day.
- It is revealed that because Jeremy is one of the Five, he can't be mind controlled by Travelers.
- It is revealed that the Travelers were once powerful witches (gifted people) just like any other and had access to all magic like all witches. Only then was a curse placed on the land by other witches to turn it against this specific subculture of witches. Since then, the Travelers were left unable to channel any magic coming from nature. So, since then, they held a grudge with all those witches who draw magic from nature.The witches seemingly cursed the land to turn it against them thus why they can't practice traditional magic separately or channel it, instead they have to perform Traveler magic.
- The Travelers completed a spell to bring their leader Markos back from the Other Side, which involved all of the Travelers in Mystic Falls (aside for Sloan) drinking a mixture of Stefan and Elena's doppelgänger blood and sacrificing themselves by setting themselves on fire. Dozens of Travelers died and passed through Bonnie, the anchor and tollbooth to the Other Side, which overwhelmed her so much that she passed out onto the floor. Markos was then able to slip into the living world from the other direction.
- Its revealed in Resident Evil by Markos that the Travelers had the curse placed on them by a coven of witches for the actions of Silas and Qetsiyah, and that one of the consequences of the curse is that if the Travelers practice magic in groups, as is their custom, natural disasters such as earthquakes and plagues would occur in the location they were currently staying. However, the Travelers found a loophole; if they become passengers in a non-Traveler's body, they are able to practice magic in groups. It can be assumed that this particular effect of the curse is why they are known as the Travelers, because they have been unable to put down roots anywhere.
- According to Liv, her coven has tracked the Travelers for centuries in an effort to keep them from breaking their curse. She revealed that Travelers have a long history of holding large gatherings through the centuries, in which they take over a town and become passengers in various townsfolk. It appears they are doing the same in Mystic Falls, as a Traveler possessed Liz Forbes (who was later freed with a passenger-killing knife) and Tyler Lockwood, among dozens of others.
- Once Tyler, who was in possession of the last passenger- killing knife, became a receptacle for a passenger, the Traveler inside him gave the knife to Markos, who threw the knife in the fire and cast a spell to destroy it. As far as we know, this means there are no longer any weapons that can truly kill a passenger.