Werewolf the Apocalypse Rage Across St. Louis
Ages ago, when the Triat lost balance and the Weaver and Wyrm went mad, the path to the Apocalypse was laid down. As the Triat fell further out of balance and fought among themselves, Gaia inevitably suffered as well. The Wyld has grown weak; the Wyrm and Weaver are, in the modern day, of immense power. The conflict has been ongoing, but in the tales and beliefs of the Garou, they will ultimately lead up to one great battle.
The Apocalypse, then, is often described as unavoidable. Many feel that maybe there were times in the past when actions could have been taken to avert it, but the assumption among many Garou of the late 20th century and early 21st century is that the Apocalypse is near and cannot be stopped. Some others still hold on to hope, that the battle can be averted somehow. The question both ask, however, is whether or not the Apocalypse (should it come to pass) can be won for Gaia.
Prophecies and Legends of the Apocalypse
The greatest legend of the Garou pertaining to the Apocalypse is by far the Prophecy of the Phoenix; it is also one of the oldest legends the Garou tell. It describes a series of visions given to a werewolf long ago by the mighty spirit, Phoenix, and the seven signs included within showing the approach of the Apocalypse. The Seventh Sign is itself the Apocalypse, described as a tumultuous time in which the Sun swallows the Moon, unholy fire rains down, and the agents of the Wyrm pour forth onto the Earth to wreak havoc. According to the legend, Phoenix states at the end of the visions that “this is as it shall be, but not as it should”, suggesting both inevitability and an ambiguous glimmer of hope.
Other prophecies exist, of course. The prophecy of Simeon Abd al Hakim, a Theurge of the Silent Striders, foretold the appearance of the red star, Anthelios, which he describes as being the Eye of the Wyrm. Another prophecy, Eshtarra’s Song, likewise describes the coming of the red star, described there as the destroyer of the sun.
Prophecies foretelling the arrival of the Perfect Metis have cropped up in such ancient tales as the Death Song of the Croatan, and also in the Vision of Eeyarlagh Twice-Born and in the Dreams of Guliera Moonsister. They seem to be uniform in their uncertainty as to the nature of the Perfect Metis, whether it will be a savior for the forces of Gaia, or a doombringer, carrying the banner of the Wyrm.
The Lost Knowledge of the Theurges and Howls of the Mooncaller (of the Red Talon Galliard, Cry of the Many-Taloned) both suggest that in the end times pieces of the asteroid belt, personified in Garou astrology as Rorg, the Many-Taloned Hunter, will crash down to Earth causing great destruction. And, in the Lost Knowledge of the Theurges, it suggests that the dust and debris of those asteroids will come together to form a “raging beast”, and that the world would be its prey. It should be noted that Rorg is not at all a Wyrm-tainted being, but is instead described as the remnants of a long-lost planet, Turog, which was destroyed by a great agent of the Wyrm in times past. Rorg’s “talons” striking the Earth then might not be an attempt to destroy Gaia, but to scour the Wyrm’s agents from her surface. The world becoming its prey might be a prediction that Rorg will be overcome by anger, and go so berserk as to harm both allies of Gaia and the Wyrm alike.
The Chronicle of Last Moon is told in the Book of the Last Moon, a Fetish and the record of a vision of the ancient Croatan Theurge “Sees-the-Last-Moon”. He lived and died before the Three Brothers crossed into North America, but this enigmatic fetish was carried with them. Its exact nature is unknown, although it is reputed to be an elaborately carved staff. Sees-the-Last-Moon’s visions are said to have been of the Apocalypse, and highly detailed. The whereabouts of the fetish are unknown, though many believe it was lost with the Croatan themselves.
The legend of the Desperate One is peculiar to the Children of Gaia. It states that a Gaian hero will, after breaking every tenet of the Litany, lead to victory in the Apocalypse. The prophecy is ambiguous in stating for what side the Desperate One will secure victory, however.
Prophecies come not only from the Gaian werewolves, of course. Nhaukh of the Black Spiral Dancers has said that his packmate, Zhyzhak, will crush the last Gaian King under her heel in the Apocalypse. This is generally presumed to mean Jonas Albrecht.
Views on the Apocalypse within the Garou Nation
The first concept is that a single faction will “win” the Apocalypse – Gaia, the Wyld, the Weaver, or the Wyrm. For the Garou, the only options that can even begin to be considered acceptable are Gaia or the Wyld winning, and many would consider the latter option not only essentially impossible (considering the Wyld’s weakness in the end times) but an undesirable turn into chaos. The Weaver and the Wyrm are generally considered to have the best chances of “winning”.
As mentioned before, the Apocalypse is generally considered unavoidable, and “Apocalypse” is rather defined by the world ending. The world as we know it will then cease to be, though what happens afterward is the true question. Through the books it often seems that many garou prefer not to dwell on the subject, knowing only that they have to win for anything remotely pleasant to happen. The Garou are a people that believe firmly in the cycle of life, death, and rebirth, so many might believe a world will follow, but it will be defined by the winner of the Apocalypse. Should Gaia win, all is well, and all will return to balance. Should any member of the Triat win, the coming world would be defined by that member of the Triat, and all others would be subdued. The Weaver’s world would be one of eternal sameness, complete order and stability. The Wyrm’s is generally assumed to be a vast expanse of misery and atrocity. The Wyld’s essentially hypothetical future would be one of chaos and ever-mutating forms, but the chances of that happening are slim.
Odd as it may be, the werewolves of the Garou Nation are a very fatalistic bunch, in spite of their reverence of the cycle of rebirth. Many might then believe that maybe there are circumstances where the world could end and then be reborn, but with the Wyrm corrupted the cycle would be broken. This maddened Wyrm would twist its task of destruction to a permanent form, thus ending all existence. This seems to be a prevailing attitude among the Garou – that to lose this one is to lose it all. There will be no recovery, no rebirth, no second chances. This may just be an attitude of “better safe than sorry” – you have to treat each Apocalypse as the Apocalypse, just in case.
Perspectives Outside the Garou Nation
The Black Spiral Dancers are often rather difficult to understand, as the process of dancing the spiral inevitably shatters their mind and soul; they can function, certainly, but they are one and all mentally ill in one form or another. But they most commonly believe that the world has been ruined beyond all repair, and that the efforts of the Garou to save and heal Gaia are wasted. In fact, from their perspective they are only prolonging Gaia’s death, or maybe even just fawning over what is already a corpse. The world was doomed when the Weaver confined the Wyrm, and so the Wyrm must destroy the Weaver and end the world. Depending on which Black Spiral Dancer you’re talking to (and how they feel that day), they say the purpose of this is to start over and return to a world of balance where Gaia is again alive and strong, or to end all existence if it’s too far gone to even start over again. This is at first a very reasonable perspective, but it’s worth remembering that in the world of Werewolf, “as above, so below” is a very real principle. You cannot achieve balance or an ideal world through the depraved acts the Black Spiral Dancers indulge in.
The Mokolé remember going through previous WonderWorks, which seem roughly analogous to great extinctions in the fossil record, and regard the coming Apocalypse as being no different. There seems to be no trace of fatalism among them at all.
The Hengeyokai of the Beast Courts speak of a Wheel of Ages that turns eternally, through each of the twelve ages and over again. With the arrival of the Twelfth Age all things – matter and spirit – become one, one with Gaia, and will then differentiate as the next cycle of ages begins. Opposite the Twelfth Age, the age of perfection, is the Sixth Age, the Age of Sorrow, a time of misery and great suffering, perhaps suggesting the greatest distance from Gaia herself that the world can manage. The cycle then waxes from Hell to Heaven between the Sixth Age and the Twelfth, and wanes from the twelfth to the sixth. They believe themselves to be in the Fifth Age, the Age of Shadows, and that the next age will come soon. Traditionally they seem to disdain the fatalism of the Garou outside the Beast Courts, seeing their view as narrow, but even they have similar fears it seems. Some feel that the forces of the Wyrm are trying to stop the Wheel of Ages, trapping it in the Sixth Age forever that they might rule in it, or that the Wyrm will destroy the Wheel itself, thus ending all things. In this the shifters of the Beast Courts and Garou Nation are really in agreement, even if they do not perceive this to be so. The major difference is that the werewolves of the Garou Nation do not dwell on the idea of previous worlds and the Apocalypse that ended each of them, but focus only on the coming battle and what may – or may not – follow.