Casa Calísaylá is named for its house founder, the last surviving member of the Karankawa, a group of Indigenous North Americans who lived along what is now the coast of Texas and its islands. Karankawans were completely wiped out by war and disease after contact with the Spanish conquistadors.
The house colors are red and gold: red for the blood of the ancestors shed in battle, and for the lifeblood of those who carry on their memories, and gold for the sustaining warmth of the sun. The Karankawa were renowned longbow hunters, especially in shallow water. The arrows on the crest evoke this history, but now also represent the trueness of one’s path and the ability of the skilled archer to determine it. The pearl between the faces represents the inner truth that is hidden within each person, formed over time from a source of vexation into something of great value and beauty. Karankawans also were skilled pearl divers, and lived as well in the water as on land. The coyote is powerful not only for its role as friend of humanity but also as the mediator between life and death. Coyote is a trickster, associated with both creation, and equivocation. The Karankawa people were particularly beloved of Coyote; the name Karankawa means “dog-lover” and domesticated coyote pups lived among them as companions and guards. Like Coyote, interactions with Calisayláns can be a mixture of cunning and mischief.
Casa Calísaylá is about borders and crossing between them. The two faces at the top of the crest look back to the past, to those who have gone before whom we honor, mourn, and respect, and to the future that awaits, that is left to the living to create. It also means never forgetting what has been lost, the ancestors and artifacts eradicated by conquerors, and the fierce protection of family, beloved, and precious cultural and magical objects to ensure their safety. The faces are indistinguishable as male or female, as Calísaylá refused to use gendered pronouns, and is referred to as they by house members and in school history.
Casa Calísaylá is most associated with the cursebreaker path in honor of its founder, whose ability to decode curses included an as-yet-unable-to-be-replicated method of temporarily suspending a curse while keeping it intact, and leaving no trace of tampering. This talent was particularly useful for obtaining secret information, and Casa Calísaylá cursebreakers still strive to emulate their founder’s coolness under pressure and knack for getting people and objects to divulge their secrets. A few of Calísaylá's own warding spells remain on the school, since their casting appears to be impossible to duplicate by wizards in the modern era. Cursebreaker students in Casa Calísaylá are driven to use their talents to unearth the truth, but they are also quite talented in hiding it. House members are very often into runes, rites, magical theory, secret codes, uncovering past knowledge, and solving puzzles and riddles (or making them). No knowledge or type of magic is considered off-limits, and members of Calísaylá flirt with the borders of traditions and laws in their quest to honor the past and embrace the future, the house motto.
There is a strong oral tradition among the house members, of storytelling told around a communal fire, and of magic through sound and music, especially from instruments made from natural objects, such as shells, wood and stones. Calísayláns are known for their bold thinking, inclusiveness, and a general distrust in institutions. House members have a history of pursuing their own projects instead of coursework, and have a certain disregard for rules that limit creativity and autonomy.
Calísaylá radiated power and a very profound sense of sadness and was said to be in a permanent state of mourning, but also occasionally indulged in some very dark humor. As a powerful wizard who could walk between the world of the living and the world of the dead, Calísaylá's body and face were covered with tattooed symbols, incantations, and mystical sigils in unknown languages. They kept their naked body shrouded in magical red and gold smoke that never faded or faltered. Calísaylá was not given to overt displays of merriment and displayed an incredible willpower and sense of focus. According to Étienne Brûlé, Calísaylá possessed more raw magical power than any of the founders, and among their magical feats was a talent for summoning storms and controlling destructive weather. It’s alleged they had the power to conjure and pilot a hurricane and it is known that they could wield arcane fire.
S. Vasquez (1901-1934) was a graduate of New World Magischola and a gifted arithmancer who worked with the Bureau of Conduct and Consequences as an expert in magical forensics and prevention. Vasquez was involved with the investigation into notorious dark wizard Jack Slager, who perpetrated a campaign of blood sacrifices in order to create powerful artifacts from human beings. He and his followers, the Gorecasters, had created a new type of wand called the Slagerods, which were capable of delivering an untraceable soul-searing curse. Vasquez was working with a team to crack the wards that made Slagerods untraceable. Learning that New World Magischola had had some kind of information on Jack Slager, Vasquez was embedded at NWM to work with student and faculty to thwart the Gorecasters. Solaris Marshals tracked down the lead Gorecasters for an arcane raid that turned out to be a set-up. The Gorecasters instead showed up at New World Magischola. The Gorecaster assault on the school was devastating, and many fresh young faces were murdered by the followers of Jack Slager. Vasquez fell in battle, trying to lead the Gorecasters away from the classroom. Luckily they were not hit with the soul-searing curse, and could return as a ghost to haunt Casa Calisaylá.
Vasquez will defend astromancy, divination, and arithmancy vehemently to anyone who decries it. They lend a sense of gravitas to Casa Calisaylá where too often young students embrace the trickster element of the house with pranks, while forgetting that tricksters used tricks to accomplish justice, solve problems, or aid humanity. They will remind Calisayláns of this at any turn, and serve as a kind of conscience for the house to remember to honor the past, and embrace the future that is theirs to create. Fun is great, but the world is full of serious problems when magic is misused or when others turn a blind eye to a rising specter of evil.