The Shuddering Storm

Type: Drift

The Shuddering Storm is a monstrous meta-physical weather aberration that may move through every hell there is. It has been recorded and rumoured through almost every well-visited hell known, at least all the hells with an "outside." Like the Creeping Dollhouse, the Shuddering Storm is a Drift, with no specific locations or entrances.

The Storm appears on the horizon as ominous red and gray clouds, moving at terrific speeds, led by a blood-red air balloon called the Herald. Under photographic analysis, it has been revealed that there is a person in the balloon using what appear to be binoculars. Many theories have been been posed as to the Herald's role is in the Shuddering Storm, from a controller to a special punishment, but they all amount to heresay and speculation.

Boiling clouds rain down brackish ichor that stains clothes (and even skin for a time), punishing winds howl and feathery pink lightning bolts flash through the Shudder Storm. The rain will destroy any gun it touches, but simple plastic bags will protect them. Being hit by a lightning strike is common and often survivable, however those returning Topside after being struck will find that all animals hate them and will react violently if given the opportunity. Screws act as lightening rods in the Storm. The Storm seems to have some grudge against screws and any screw that is caught in the Storm is usually the victim of many consecutive strikes as if standing under a massive Tesla coil.

Countless lost souls plod along quickly with the Storm. They are refugees that used the opportunity of the storm for escape and try to keep up with it, hoping for it to drift into some less awful place. Eventually, the souls are outpaced by the tempest and are left stranded in some new, terrible place. They are driven souls, sparked on by a rare fuel… hope. Within the Storm of Shuddering is no picnic either, but it promises a chance to move on.

The creatures calling the Storm home are many and varied. The most prominent are the Striders. Great, strange beasts of burden that carry on their backs massive cenotaphs. They walk in single file and pose no threat to those that avoid their path. Should one try to gain access to one of the monuments, they will find the Striders are a herd of guardians, ferociously defending their burdens. Within the cenotaphs are many rumored treasures. The most common and propped by circumstantial evidence it that of detailed maps and/ or lists of the damned and their locations.

Another denizen of the Storm are the tempest-kin. Churning, winged bundles of cloud-meat sprouting claws, blades and horn. Tempest-kin fly in the belly of the Storm, lazily selecting a victim and snatching them up into air. Once comfortably elevated, the tempest-kin eat their victims slowly. Once fed, the tempest-kin can be negotiated with. They will trade their limited information for promises to perform strange, often grotesque acts in the topside. It is unknown if they have any mechanism to enforce such contracts, however, most crashers are so superstitious that the idea of backing out on such a contract may be unthinkable. Fed tempest-kin start sprouting the bodily features of the person they ate within a few hours. After a month or so, the entire body will have formed off the tempest-kin like some massive tumor and will eventually fall off. The body will be completely free of scars or wounds (even Permanent Wounds), but the victim will have at least an Insanity for their experience.

The Storm is a useful, if deadly tool for many crashers looking to move through hells, but many things make it a less that desirable vehicle. First, it moves very quickly. It is a rare group of people that can keep up with the storm for more than two or three hells. Second, guns simply do not work once they've been rained on by the Storm. Adding in the lightening, tempest-kin and the throttlers makes for an unpleasant experience. While the Storm seems to be chaotic in the extreme with no rhyme or reason to its movements, there is a crasher out of Cambridge, MA, named Billy Tombs, who claims to have its movements figured out. Billy is some form of math whiz and claims the movements of the Storm are precise, if complex formulae. He has successfully navigated the Storm 14 times and has marginal photographic evidence as well as witnesses to back up his reputation. He is currently serving a 9 month sentence for castrating four willing men without a medical license.

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