Credit: The CW

There’s a nefarious force lingering on the narrative edges of The Vampire Diaries, and we think it’s only a matter of time before this future Big Baddie steps fully into view. We’re talking, of course, about the Travelers — the sub-sect of witches who have been stealing doppelganger blood, sanctioning bodily possession, and being generally mysterious since the start of Season 5. We know they have a deep mythology, but what might it be? We’ve gathered up everything we know about the Travelers in the hopes it might point to an answer.

Their ancient history

The Travelers have been around a long time — as in, before Silas first spurned Qetsiyah in Ancient Greece. The two immortals started as members of the ancient witchy clan, which means the society was already in existence when this doppelganger-creating love triangle first began. So, what purpose did/do they serve? Well, besides their mission to find the most unflattering hairstyle ever for Paul Wesley (mission status: accomplished), they seemed to be pretty obsessed with killing supernatural beings gone bad: i.e. Silas, Katherine, Qetsiyah (2,000 years ago). Are they some sort of supernatural police force and, if so, how have they not made it to Mystic Falls before?

A connection to the Other Side

The mission of the Travelers to protect the anchor to the Other Side suggests a deep and important connection to the supernatural purgatory. Qetsiyah was a Traveler, and she was the one who created the Other Side to keep Silas and Amara apart. So, the Travelers existed before the creation of the Other Side, but has it become their entire purpose? If they are some sort of police squad, then perhaps the Other Side serves as their prison. If only we had a main character who hung out there for the first quarter of the season, right?

Their alliance with Dr. Wes

We’re super intrigued by the Travelers’ interest in Dr. Wes and his research (well, we can understand their interest in Dr. Wes). In the last ep, the hunky microbiologist was approached by a character named Sloan, who offered Traveler funding for Dr. Wes’ vampire research. Um, why do the Travelers want to support the development of a vampire cannibal serum? They don’t seem adverse to the idea of vampires altogether, given that many of them have become vamps (i.e. Nadia). Are they interested in developing the serum into something else? Or is their ultimate goal to destroy vampirism forever?

Leader Markos

Whatever they’re up to, they seem to have a leader in the fight in future big baddie, Markos. The character has yet to be cast or thoroughly described, but we totally think he’s a Traveler. We do know that he’s a “charismatic but imposing leader from a faraway land” who is “super dark, but people can’t help but be drawn to him.”  What role will Markos play in the Traveler agenda? And just how far away is he coming from — like Europe or the Other Side?

A doppelganger obsession

We knew the Travelers were doppelganger-obsessed when they stole two buckets of Elena and Stefan’s blood, but it seems that was only the tip of the iceberg. Executive producer Julie Plec told E! Online: "We've been doing a nice slow, slow, slow burn of this Traveler storyline…what we will come to understand what exactly it is these people want, what it has to do with this alleged doppelganger prophecy and what they need from our doppelgangers.” Meaning, this idea that the doppelgangers will always find one another or whatever was created by the Travelers. Did they come up with the idea/cast some sort fo spell as some kind of blood-and-the-moon-curse fakeout to get the doppelgangers to one place? Or is there a greater mystical truth behind this prophecy?

What do you think the Travelers are up to? Share your theories in the comments below!

Catch the next episode of The Vampire Diaries on Thursday, February 27 at 8 p.m. ET on the CW.

Kayti Burt is a contributing writer for Wetpaint Entertainment with a penchant for all things pop culture. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!