Rage Across Baltimore

Eighth Story: Reoccurring Dreams

We ain't gotta dream no more, man.

Quiet
I am sleeping
In here
We need a little hope

— Smashing Pumpkins, “Quiet”

Have you ever had a lucid dream — one where you become aware that you’re dreaming, but you don’t wake up, and the dream just goes on?

What about a dream that seems more than a little familiar? Dreams can be variations on a theme, experts, scientists speak of archetypes, common to dreamers worldwide — always fitting everything into its place, categorizing, naming. But this is more than that.

Lately, the Garou of Last Call have been afflicted with a little of both. A familiar dream, that’s nothing worth bothering anyone with. But this is a pack of Wisdom, in service to a Dream Raven, part of the spirit brood of Chimera — mistress of Enigmas, caretaker of dreams. So when your dreams call to you, you might want to listen.

What do these nightmares portend for the pack? Could there be something sinister ahead for them — for the Garou of Baltimore, perhaps the entire city? Or is it just that they really have no true refuge from the Wyrm’s corruption, not even in their dreams. They’re about to find out.

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’Cause we hunt you down without mercy
Hunt you down all nightmare long
Feel us breathe upon your face
Feel us shift, every move we trace

— Metallica, “All Nightmare Long”

Chapter 1: The sept is buckling down to endure a week or two of preparation before the moon waxes full again, and perhaps the final strike upon one of the Hives will begin. With a bare sliver of Luna’s face showing, however, the Garou of Last Call are busy. Their sleep is disturbed by vivid dreams. Finally, as the nightmares grow particularly lurid, something snaps.

In his dream, Razvan is surrounded by enemies — where has his pack, where has Tracker gone? In the midst of his despair, his teeth fall out, after he crunches down on Stainless Steel’s bristling metallic hide. As the Black Spirals cackle gleefully and encircle him for the kill, a little bird reminds him that he always has a weapon, so long as he has Rage…and that Rage lashes out like thunderbolts, before he wakes.

In her dream, Willow is drowning. There’s no time to think of how she got there, whose grasping hands are pulling her down. Even Garou need to breathe! Above her, the sight of dark wings overhead reminds her of her duty as a Theurge — to understand is her gift, and she does. Though it pains her, Willow recognizes this dream and dies in it, waking up with a start.

Zero is on the run. Just as he’d always expected…has the sept turned on him? Has his pack, too? He spies a familiar shape among his pursuers, a distinctive cowboy hat. At the same time, a raven reminds Zero that it’s his gift, his job to always find another way, and the cul-de-sac in which he is trapped cracks open a little. He finds an escape…to wakefulness.

As for Scully, the rest of the pack finds him sleeping in, neglecting his duties as Guardian, setting the Warder, Tracker-by-Moonlight, to grousing. After waking the sleepy Galliard, the pack gets to their night’s patrol, talking about their unusual dreams. It’s then that their totem, Gordias, reveals that he has been testing the pack in the Dream Zone, trying to awaken their special Dream powers…with the help of Scully, who awakened to his power, first.

While Gordias wanders the Umbra in search of a tutor for the pack to learn the Rite of Dreaming, they run across an old ally, the Corax Bright-Eyes, who promises to hook them up with an elder Stargazer from upstate New York. In the meantime, they decide to test out Scully’s Dream Stone, a minor fetish he acquired on his dreamquests…

Eighth Story: Reoccurring Dreams
 

I wanna use you and abuse you
I wanna know what’s inside you

— Marilyn Manson, “Sweet Dreams”

Chapter 2: With the promise of battle against the Wyrm no further away than a pack-nap…! Naturally they have to employ herbal tea and perhaps some drugged milk to take a power nap together. Fortunately, they appear together, as they might have hoped, inside of Scully’s last dream.

Although the Galliard was exploring the limits of his dream-shaping abilities to build a dojo of sorts in his Chimare. From there, Zero used his dream power to warp-zone the pack straight to the Dream Zone proper. And there, they found a massive, shared dream…or nightmare…of the city.

Dream Banes ran rampant through the dream, crafting vicious nightmares for the city’s residents. Some were being terrorized in their dreams; other dreamers, with the encouragement of Dream Banes, were the ones bringing the pain. It all seemed designed to foster fear, hatred and division in the city.

And then the pack arrived! Although the bizarre dreamscape threw them for a minute, before long the Garou began to seek out dreams in which to intervene. Whether it was a family being terrorized by a nightmare-monster trying to burn down their home, or breaking up an over-eager pack of police hunting ‘thugs’ as they would put it.

The Garou don’t have an easy method for destroying the Dream Banes permanently, but they certainly have the tools to disrupt the Banes’ fun in the Dream Zone. In so doing, they may make people’s lives better, one dream at a time.

And the best part is that no one in the sept has to know.

Eighth Story: Reoccurring Dreams
 

Hopelessly drifting
Bathing in beautiful agony
I am endlessly falling
Lost in this wonderful misery

— Dream Theater, “A Nightmare to Remember”

Chapter 3: Although most of the pack awakened from their dream battle none the worse for wear, Willow woke to find herself still sore and hurting…as if she had carried the wounds she suffered in Baltimore’s communal nightmare realm into the waking world.

Still, the pack was able to return to their usual duties as caern guards, at least for a few days. Raz resumed his vigorous training regimen while his clinic may still be getting back up to speed after the recent spate of arson and vandalism that swept the city, including Raz’s workplace! And while Zero is primarily watching his back, Willow struggles to keep her business afloat. Her Kinfolk sweetie did most of the day-to-day work, after all.

The reverie didn’t last long, though. It was Zero who caught up with Tracker-by-Moonlight first, a rare sighting in the material world and in Homid form — and also bloodied from a fight! Alas, it was not the forces of the Wyrm who attacked, but…Scully. Apparently after suffering a Fox frenzy, he and Tracker brawled a bit and Tracker gave the panicking Galliard such a sound beating that no one could immediately ask him what he was panicking about.

And that didn’t last long, either…as the caern received a curious call from a very peculiar Elder-with-a-capital-E, one Antonine Teardrop out of upstate New York, requesting an audience with Last Call. Vaughan and the sept leaders weren’t about to insult an actual elder with a brush-off, but they did insist that Scully remain behind — due to his evident unstable state, or perhaps just to punish him further.

This led the rest of the pack on a hasty road trip, since the loopy Stargazer was apparently expecting them that night, but they made it. And so the pack became friends with a curious but powerful hermit from the Stargazer tribe, which had largely abandoned the Garou Nation for parts oriental not too long ago.

Razvan, Willow and Zero spent a couple of days up in the Catskills with Antonine, got acquainted with an even loopier Silver Fang with a passion for helping abused children (something the pack knows a thing or two about), and shared stories with the Stargazer Elder. When he could persuade the youngsters to cut out the telepathy and use their mouths, he listened to their stories and tales of Renown from their excursion into the Dream Zone. And, they capped their little trip by establishing ties with New York City’s Sept of the Green — with a good word from Antonine.

So, the pack has taken their first few steps out of Baltimore, perhaps the first of many once they get free of Guardian duty (not yet!). They’ve learned that the spirits keep track of their Renown as much as their sept-mates, as Antonine could tell them. And when they get back to Baltimore, they learn of Scully’s shame and loss of Renown, and the cause of his unfortunate frenzy. Scully went looking for Social Justice in her dreams…and what little he recalls of what happened next, he’d just as soon forget.

Story XP for the finale: 5! Think about any expenditures you may want to fit into a week or two of downtime — nope, no extended downtime before the next turgid episode…

Renown awards: (pack) Glory +2, Honor +2, Wisdom +6 (Defeating a minor threat; protecting helpless humans; a successful spirit quest; revealing an area that is “of the Wyrm”)
(Razvan) +1 Honor (helping guard a caern)
(Zero) +1 Honor (helping guard a caern)
(Willow) +1 Honor (helping guard a caern), +1 Wisdom (learning a new Rite)
(Scully) -1 Glory (suffering a fox frenzy), -1 Wisdom (suffering a frenzy), +2 Wisdom (discovering a fetish)

[Yep, the sept elders dock Scully for failing in his duties about as much as they possibly can! And that’s after he performs a Rite of Contrition. And yes, Raz, there is a potential ding to Wisdom for any frenzy. Don’t get caught.]

Eighth Story: Reoccurring Dreams
tytalus

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