The Caern of the Wheel RenewedEdit
A Caern is a site of great holy and mystical power to the Garou, with powerful totem spirits bound to it. Their worship of Gaia centers on these magical regions, and usually their gatherings (moots) take place at them. The group of all Garou who live at or near a given Caern and participate in the activities of that Caern is referred to as a Sept.
In 1826, the Wendigo re-awoke an ancient tribal Caern near the Columbia river. This Caern, like some other Caerns of the Pure Ones, was once a Medicine Wheel with the four aspects of the Wheel dedicated to the four seasons. For reasons known only to them, when the Wheel was re-opened it was re-dedicated to the four elements instead. Hints of the original seasonal nature of the Wheel are still evident in each of its four elemental aspects. It was called, simply, The Caern of the Wheel. Even among the Wendigo this Caern of Visions rolled counter to many of their beliefs. While most Native American medicine wheels run clockwise, for reasons known only to the spirits and, perhaps, the first Wendigo, the Wheel runs counter-clockwise. To move clockwise about it is to go against the will of the very totems that give it strength.
In 1940, fragmented reports of a Caern to the north being destroyed under odd circumstances were told by second-hand witnesses. Two more in that area were destroyed in the next two years, all with no known survivors. Then, in 1944, the Wendigo running the Caern vanished, leaving St. Claire's Glass Walkers and Bone Gnawers the only Garou in the immediate area. There were no clues left as to where the Wendigo went, and the Caern fell into dormancy.
Then, in the spring of 1991, a Freebooter pack from the Sept of Gaia's Bones, Seneca Falls, was searching in eastern Washington, and made a major find: the ancient site of this slumbering Caern. A Strider who had been traveling with the Freebooter pack was dispatched to return to Gaia's Bones with the news. Confident that the Furies would soon arrive to open the caern, Seneca Falls continued on their path, looking for other new caerns.
Unknown to Seneca Falls, however, the Strider returned immediately to The Caern of Ptah with the news rather than going to Gaia's Bones. A council was hastily convened and for reasons of their own, an Elder of that tribe was sent with a scouting party to the scene. Amidst an emerging turf war with the local kindred, the Caern was re-opened in November of 1993. The Garou called themselves the Sept of the Wheel Renewed and they found themselves guardians of an extremely powerful Caern, as such things go, and a mystery. The Caern had two totem spirits linked to it, that of Magpie and that of Buffalo; they were aware that there was once a third totem but the Wendigo had left no clue to its identity.
Finally, almost exactly a year after the site was re-opened, members of the Wendigo tribe returned to the Caern of the Wheel Renewed as did the third totem, Cougar. But it was not a warm homecoming for either the Wendigo, who found themselves at odds with the Sept, or the totem, who died the same night of its return. The discovery of the bodies of nine dead warriors at a nearby archaeological site, a pack of Wendigo who became known as Cougar's Nine, and the emergence of a new supernatural threat in the icy wastelands of the north, drove the mystery from the background into the fore.
The full story did not unfold until the Ice King, the original threat that had driven off the Wendigo, was finally defeated: This spirit, a creature from Malfeas, had destroyed several Wendigo Caerns in pursuit of the death of a bloodline of Wendigo Garou. The seers of the Wheel were able to divine that it was some the Wendigo of the Sept, and not the Caern itself, that were the prey. Hoping to save the Caern, they packed their belongings and left, accompanied by Magpie and Buffalo. Ten warriors remained behind with Cougar and all but one were lost, throwing themselves in vain against the Ice King. Only the sacrifice of Cougar himself was enough to halt the enemy's advance. When the Wendigo returned, they could only discern that both Cougar and the enemy were lost. They declared the place cursed, buried their dead, and closed the Caern.
Only in this age, with the return of Cougar's daughter, was the Ice King destroyed when it was turned back from the very gates of Malfeas by its own kind and that part of the tale brought to a close. The Wheel Renewed stands now as a place of serene beauty with an awkward but managing Sept and a very large character base. It weathers bane incursions and Wyrm plots like an old oak tree, losing a few branches to the storm but managing to keeps its roots firmly planted in Gaia.
And, even in its strength, the signs of the coming Apocalypse have their effect upon the Wheel Renewed as much as any other place in these days. In the spring of 1996, a Worldbender named Saul ben Isaac began to establish links to places of power in St. Claire. He chose the Caern itself as the site of one of his attacks and his minions pierced the holy site's wards and began to draw power from it. The Caern was severely damaged in the attack and is now only half of its previous strength. Saul ben Isaac was eventually destroyed by the Wheel's Garou and a handful of mages from the Chantry in St. Claire who lent their grudging help in the final struggle.
GarouMUSH is set in and around the fictitious city of St. Claire in Washington State. St. Claire sits at a point where the Columbia River runs roughly north-south, and where US Interstate 90 crosses that river (the admins and founders of the MUSH are aware that this area is neither forested, lush, nor well-inhabited in real life; there's no need to clue them in if you're from this area, as we are all pretty happy with our illusion).
Originally a mining town, St. Claire has grown into a modern centre of trade of roughly a million people, and has all the facilities (and problems) of a city that size. It has several suburbs, all to the west of the city. Most of the land to the east of town is forested, either National or State Park land, or private land, with the exception of Kent Crossing Township.
The southern half of the city is mostly industrial and low-rent housing. It is here that you find the Regan Hope Project, a shelter from the streets for families and single people within the community. Shelter from the gangs that claim the streets as their own. Here, also, are the old wharfs along the Columbia river, long since fallen into disuse. And, most prevalent, are the factories and industries that keep the city going.
Upscale becomes more noticeable as you move north through the city, into the business district with its hollow temples of steel, glass and concrete: monuments to the Weaver. The crime here is white-collar, corporation against corporation; this is the place where the decisions are made, the deals are struck, and the fate of the city is determined.
But even more frightening than the unethical politics of the power brokers in St. Claire is the darkness that simmers below the glimmering facade of the nouveau riche. There is old power in St. Claire. Old money. Old alliances and even older enmities that go back to the dawn of history in the world. New agreements are plastered over the old wounds, sometimes, but they only hold for brief moments against the tide of emotions that separate the east side of the river from the west.
In 1847, two prospectors, Lan Gerlord and Jebediah Regan, traveling through the area on a long-term prospecting voyage, discovered a vast silver vein in the local hills. The two made a small mine, managing to avoid any trouble with the local natives.
By 1849, after a return to St. Louis, Regan and Gerlord came back to the area intent on getting rich. With them was a small group of workers and other prospectors and, as word began to get out, the town of St. Claire was officially founded by that small population.
St. Claire is now the county seat of Gerlord County which includes St. Claire and the western suburbs thereof. The boundary between Gerlord County and Regan County to the east is the Columbia River. Hence, St. Claire didn't expand east past the county line (the river) but instead westward. Additionally, St. Claire's police force has no legal jurisdiction east of the Columbia River which has its own county sheriff's department and county commissioner.
In 1971, despite heavy campaigning, a proposal to rezone the east bank of the Columbia River between the Municipal Bridge and I-90 to allow industrial use failed. The corporation itching to get onto the land, Hernandez Industrial Steel, blitzed the local media with pro-rezoning commercials and the like, but a coalition of local businesses and environmental groups got the measure voted down. One point for the environmentalists.
Ten years later, in 1981, Sara Foster, an Independent candidate for the office of mayor, became the first woman elected to the post in St. Claire's history. Her legacy continued for many years and in 1993, despite heavy opposition, most notably from Councilperson Gloria Vaughn, Sara Foster was elected to her fourth term as Mayor.
In 1993 as well large plots of land in Regan county, bordering on Wolf Woods National Park, were bought by Aspen Demilune. They remained in her hands for only a short time; when the millionaire Demilune disappeared later that winter they lay untouched. Almost two years after, with the absence of a will, hectares of land went on the auction block. They were bought, primarily, by three investment groups at what most analysts considered to be grossly inflated prices: the first was Blue Sky Forestry, a group that had begun to exhaust their considerable land interests through clear-cutting near Kent Crossing and were looking to expand their holdings. A second group, owned by local businesswoman Adele Sandrego, purchased their lands for purposes unknown. The final, a little known coalition pulled together at the last moment by hidden investors, was Precision Products Incorporated and again the underlying reasons for their purchase are not clear.
St. Claire, while too young to have the character of other cities such as New York, Boston or Los Angelas, is not without its big-city troubles. It has been subject to more than its fair share of mass murders, crime, and poverty. The Cookie-Cutter murders in 1994 were a prime example of this. They were followed by a series of incidents that resulted in the eventual resignation of the city's Chief of Police. Trouble still brews and in the last few years St. Claire has attracted more unwanted attention from several mega-corporations and government special agencies than some of its inhabitants want.
Several institutions within St. Claire receive more attention within the context of Garou's fictional world. Three of these are:
The Yakima ReservationEdit
The Yakima Valley is an agricultural centre, the valley itself providing fertile land and ideal growing conditions for crops such as apples. Next to this valley is the Yakima Reservation. The reservation, while it does not attract a lot of attention on the MUSH, is home to a small number of Wendigo and Uktena kinfolk. Unfortunately, with so few Wendigo left in the area, knowledge of who and what they are has passed from fact to legend in two short generations for most of the reservation's peoples. Nonetheless, a few Garou have ties to the people there and a few of the Wheel's cubs have come from that place.
For more real-life information on Washington, and the Yakama people, refer to:
- Yakama Indian Nation Economic Development Office
- The Yakima Valley Home Page
- Pacific Harbor - Secret Study - The Yakima Lights
- Yakima Valley Rail and Steam Museum Home Page
- The Yakima Valley Museum
The Hanford SiteEdit
The Hanford Site is a World-of-Darkness corruption of the real site that sits almost on St. Claire's doorstep.
The Caern of the Last DaysEdit
This Caern was founded in a bid to reclaim the greater Hanford area from the Wyrm, but it eventually fell to Spirals once more.
See Also Geography
Megan also compiled a table of Jump OK Rooms, awesome for getting around the grid quickly OOCly.