Week of Nightmares
"He split the mountain! The King split the mountain! He calls the princes and princesses. They run, but he sends his nightmares to fetch them!"
- – Unnamed Seer, at the start of the Week of Nightmares
The Week of Nightmares was the term coined to describe the period during July 1999 where the Ravnos Antediluvian awoke, and caused an an unimaginable level of destruction as it tore its way through the Indian subcontinent. It is universally seen as the first sign of Gehenna, the Vampiric Apocalypse.
Prelude to End
In India, the long simmering cold war between the forces of Clan Ravnos and the Kuei-Jin of the Infinite Thunders Court entered a new phase. Unable to battle the Eastern vampires with quality, the Ravnos decided to make do with quantity instead, and mass-Embraced mortals to create Thin-Blood (and as such ultimately expendable) shock troops to throw at their enemies.
As anyone knows what happens when a vampire dies (psychic backlash up the clan tree per death), this turned out to be a very bad idea. High generation vampires aren't robust to begin with, and Thin Bloods more so. As neonate after neonate suffered Final Death at the hands of the Kuei-Jin, the sheer amount of Vitae spilt in the five years of the conflict eventually caused several Ravnos Methuselahs to awaken from their torpor in India.
After sating themselves on the blood of their descendants, these powerful elders turned their attention on the clan's Cathayan enemies. Soon, the war began to turn in the Ravnos' favor.
Such was the intensity of the fighting however, that even the Vitae of these mighty vampires was spilled. The psychic backlash of their Final Deaths was much more powerful, and went back up a shorter distance through the bloodline... back to sire of the Clan itself.
Doom Comes Early
The Antedeluvian awoke, and chaos erupted. Regular people and supernaturals alike experienced dark dreams and visions, with many simply driven insane by what they had seen. Thus the Week of Nightmares had begun, as Kith and Kine alike found their slumber beset by dark shadows of an ancient evil unleashed.
Back in India Zapathasura, Father of the Ravnos, was thirsty after a ten-millennia long nap. Sensing all of the extant Methuselah in the region, the Antediluvian would not refuse such a tasty banquet. The entire Kindred population of Kolkatta was annihilated in an evening, while untold death and destruction occured as the Ancient tore its way through the Subcontinent hunting down its descendants.
The Courts' Gambit
This state of affairs could not be allowed to continue. The Kuei-jin Courts dispatched three of its greatest Bodhisattvas -- Black Earth Boy of the Thrashing Dragons, Rising Majestically to the Western Sun the Resplendent Crane, and Eight Thunders Master the Devil Tiger -- to bring battle to the rampaging Cainite. This august and formidable trio, a temporary wu brought together by necessity, decided to intercept the Antediluvian on the floodplains of Bangladesh, at the border of the Ravnos homeland and the territory of the Cathayans.
Others made the journey as well: Tieh Ju, the Iron Chrysanthemum, as well as her disciples, and Chou Li (likely a Hsien snakeman), whose favored temple was destroyed by the Antediluvian's awakening. They went not to fight, but bear witness to the titanic stuggle that was to occur.
The Battle Joined
"The Dragon rises, the Crane falls, and Tiger circles 'round. They strike at the king's nightmares. The nightmares strike back."
- – Vampire patient, 3rd Day of the Week of Nightmares
The Bodhisattvas jumped Zapathasura... and all Hell broke loose, both literally and figuratively. The border between worlds grew thin as the Cathayans called upon spiritual aid in the conflict, but more malign spirits managed to slip through as well. A storm was summoned by one of the Kuei-jin, to shield the combatants from the light of the sun, as well as to hold the Cainite in place.
So mighty was the conflict, that it caused ripples to occur through the Umbra of the area, and it was so destructive that it drew the attention of other interested parties in the World of Darkness.
The Technocratic Union reacted with alarm, as the Antediluvian alone was already an apocalyptic-level threat. Code: RAGNAROK was approved, as the Mages mobilized all their available resources to make sure the supernatural threat was put down, with extreme prejudice if possible.
The response from the Garou was much more reserved by comparison: a small war pack was quietly dropped into Bangladesh, with orders to investigate the cause of the spiritual mess and take it out if possible.
Reaping the Whirlwind
"He's burning! He's burning! The sun fell from the sky and he's burning!"
- – Mental Ward patient, Day Four of Week of Nightmares
As the Technocracy's forces on the ground battled their way through the supernaturally-wrought tempest, beyond the atmosphere the mages mobilized its big guns and moved them into position: four massive orbital mirrors, just the thing needed when you've got godlike vampires on the rampage. Due to the storm however, they were unable to bring the might of the mirrors to bear, so the Technocracy implemented Plan B.
From three other orbital satellites, missile racks released their deadly payload: "neutron bombs", nuclear weaponry that affected the spiritual world as well as the physical. Their effect on the battlefield was as immediate as it was deadly: not only did the nukes kill off all the unlucky mortals still in the combat area, but the supernaturals as well. Kuei-jin, Garou, Wraith, Fae... Almost all vanished in nuclear fire.
Against all odds, Zapathasura still lived, but so did Tieh Ju and her fellow observers. She bade Chou Li to maintain the storm clouds a little longer, and only had the snake man release the spell once the Cainite was close enough. With a laugh, the Iron Chrysanthemum melted into the ground, just as as the clouds parted, and the orbital mirrors blasted the Antediluvian with the force of four suns.
The sire of the Ravnos, already weakened by his battle with the Bodhisattva, could not resist the solar onslaught. It took barely four steps, before it crumbled into ash.
Fall of the Ravnos
During the course of the battle in Bangladesh, the innate Chimestry possessed by Ravnos vampires grew gradually stronger, but at the Final Death of their sire Ravnos everywhere were infected by its madness, anger, and fear. No matter how much they fed beforehand, they suddenly felt the uncontrollable urge to feed on the Vitae of their clanmates.
For four days and nights, the Ravnos attacked and fed on each other in a frenzy. When the dust cleared, barely a hundred Ravnos worldwide had survived. The Clan as it was, effectively ceased to exist.
The cost of life that came in the wake of the Week of Nightmares was tremendous. A total of 1.3 million people lost their lives, with many of those due to vampires or other supernatural causes, while about 115,600 perished because of the flooding brought about by the summoned typhoon. Lastly about 60,800 people died from the spirit nukes, either because of the explosion or the radiation that followed.
However all the supernatural entities in the radius of the blasts were slaughtered, including a possibly world-ending threat, so the Technocracy considered the mission a roaring success, and started investing in stopping vampires altogether. Covering up the aftermath would be difficult, but not impossible, and in less than a month few people in the world gave much thought to what happened during that odd week in July 1999.
Speaking of cover-ups...
The Camarilla elders, now faced with actual evidence of the coming Gehenna, decided to double-down in denying that the Antediluvians were real, while at the same time preparing their own defenses for what they knew was coming. As for the regular Kindred on the street, all they knew was that something happened, and that Clan Ravnos had almost gone extinct as a result, but what it could possibly be varied from vampire to vampire.
And through all this, the Red Star started to shine even brighter in the sky...
In many ways, the Week of Nightmares kicked the somewhat stable metaplot of the World of Darkness into high gear, directly or indirectly affecting the course of other game lines. Which was good or bad, depending on how someone looked at it.
- Vampire: The Masquerade: This sped up Gehenna, duh.
- Werewolf: The Apocalypse: The Perfect Metis, the harbinger of the End Times for the Garou, was born at the end of the Week of Nightmares. Also the Umbra in Bangladesh where the spirit nukes exploded is simply... gone.
- Mage: The Ascension: The Horizon Realm got destroyed, stranding countless powerful Mages on the wrong side of the Gauntlet. This essentially assures the victory of the Technocracy over the Traditions.
- Kindred of the East: Losing three Bodhisattvas was already a big blow, but for many Kuei-jin of all Quincunx Dharmas it was a sign that the Sixth Age was nigh. Meanwhile vengeful wu from the Devil Tigers, Thrashing Dragons, and Resplendent Cranes streamed into India, displacing the few Ravnos still remaining there.
- Changeling: The Dreaming: A path to Arcadia opened up again, while the Adhene, a hostile group of Fae was released as well.
- Wraith: The Oblivion: The Technocracy's spirit nukes helped destabilize the Tempest even further, contributing to the Sixth Great Maelstrom later that year.
- Demon: The Fallen: The Abyss, a region in the Shadowlands used as a prison for the Angels who sided with Lucifer Morningstar against God, gets small cracks in it, which allow some of the weaker Fallen Angels to escape into the Mortal realm.