The Abyss is one of the Near Realms of the Umbra. It was created by acts of extreme destruction, though all Fera have different opinions on what exactly happened. There are many hideous creatures within the chasms that lead down to the inner walls of the pit. It is also known as the Chasm by human mages.
The equivalent to a spiritual black hole, the Abyss is surrounded by thick mists, leading to a realm of barren mud and rocks. This in turn leads to the gaping pit that is so deep and wide that it must be bottomless. Anything tossed into the Abyss is forever lost, simply disappearing as though they never existed. Almost anything that has fallen into the Abyss has never come back out again. The only thing that does seem to come out of the Abyss is the strange lulling call that can inspire Harano in Garou.
Getting to the source of this siren song isn't terribly difficult, as there are many paths that lead here. In fact it is said that any mundane crack in the Umbral soil will if followed long enough, lead to this vast nothingness. Powerful gusts of wind buffet travelers and threaten to fling them in the great nothingness below. This realm devours all forms of sensory perception, wither they come from light, sound or even scent. If is foolish enough to go far enough, there is the threat of complete sensory deprivation. At that point however, they are lost for all times.
To the Garou, this is the depot of all things lost. Persons, cultures, totems, even the forgotten spirits of dead tribes come here to wither and die. If one dares to enter the Abyss itself, they will be met with frightful visages. The names and faces of totems and forgotten heroes seem to be carved out of the cliff face. However these carvings may also be the monsters that are waiting to be unleashed during the Apocalypse.
To the Bone Gnawers, the Eldest of Vampires lay in torpor here, waiting for the night when they can come to suck the world dry. The Get of Fenris have a similar legend, but they believe that hordes of loathsome Wyrmspawn will rise from this "Maw of Jormungandr." The Star Gazers see the Abyss as the greatest of paradoxes, an embodied spiritual koan. Only Klaital, greatest of the tribe, was able to descend fully into the Abyss and return from within.
The Silent Striders whisper that, should the greatest of Garou heroes sacrifice himself by voluntarily hurling himself into the Abyss, the entire realm will close in on itself, sealing itself shut for all time. Of course, the Striders also remind those listening that, despite several heroes' attempts, it is still there intact and inviting others to try. Not only are the Garou aware of the Abyss. Thus is the impact of this terrible ..thing.. in the umbra that the other Fera have their own legends about it.
The Bastet believe it to be the first Den-Realm, seazed by the Wyrm and desecrated into what it is now. The Mokolé see the Abyss as the anathema of Mnesis, the embodiment of all that has been forever lost from even their prodigious memories. The Ananasi tell tales of a bloated Goblin Spider who forever spins a web in its depths, seeking build a bridge and bring the Apocalypse to the world. The secretive Nagah believe the Abyss to be the mark were the Wyrm struck the spirit world and injected it with its poisons, referring to it as the Shadow Fang. While the Corax, for all their Umbral travel, will simply not speak of it.
Geography of the Void
Like any rock on the physical or Umbral plane, the Abyss's walls are just as scalable. However, one is welcome to do so at one's own risk. Powerful gusts of wind buffet travelers and threaten to fling them in the great nothingness below. This realm devours all forms of sensory perception, wither they come from light, sound or even scent. If is foolish enough to go far enough, there is the threat of complete sensory deprivation. At that point however, they are lost for all times.
There are three paths that lead down into the Abyss, all of them lined with vast networks of caves were nearly anything and everything lost can be found. Each one is lined with a particular kind of mineral that gives the path its name.
- The Golden Path: Named because of the nodes of pure gold that line this path. This makes this path the most tempting to take, however those who wish to take from the path, as it were invoke a potent curse. To add to this, it is the most precarious of paths, lined with fissures, sheer drops and other obstacles. This is the deadliest of the Abyssal paths.
- The Iron Path: The Iron Path, like the name preludes is striated with bands of iron ore. This path is favored by poor lost cubs that accidentally wonder about the umbra and find their way to the Abyss. It is over run with endless numbers of caverns, however these caves are almost always filled with stranded creatures or spirits who have gone insane because of the ever consuming nature of the Abyss. Rescue is possible though difficult, and is worthy of great renown by those who do. Of the three paths, the Iron path is the easiest to traverse.
- The Silver Path: It is said that the Star Gazer hero Klaital took the Silver Path through and out of the Abyss. Most of the great totemic carvings lie along this enigmatic path. Silver taken from this path is said to be particularly useful in the forging of klaives. The Silver Path is more difficult and treacherous than the Golden or Iron Paths -- in its own way -- other wise more would be known about it. However, no two Theurges can agree on the precise nature of its challenges.
Getting In and the Hell Out
The Abyss calls to those who look into it for too long. Tugging at the emptiness in their souls, convincing them that they aren't worthy to defend Gaia, or that in the long run their existence is meaningless. Some shapeshifters, particularly Corax, have been known to fly directly into the Abyss. Those who do so ultimately suffer the effects of sensory deprivation as they travel deeper and deeper into the lightless, silent void. They begin to hallucinate as maddening terror fills their being.
Getting into this realm is terribly easy. Falling off a moon path, wandering off course, or even failing to fully cross the Gauntlet. Most don't even know that they are entering the Abyss until it is too late. Exiting the realm is much, much, much harder. One can be trapped in the realm for days following the many cracks that lead elsewhere. And even then, they must be free of any of the maddening effects of the Realm. Creatures suffering from either Harano or a derangement find themselves in for a long trip unless either condition is cured.
Residents of the Abyss
There are few who permanently choose to dwell in this lonely land. And rightfully so. Spirits that wish to come to this place must materialize to enter the realm, falling out of touch with the rest of the Umbra as they do so. Neither the Weaver or the Wyld are strong in this place, as their charms simply do not function. Break or Solidify Reality isn't very useful in a place that seems to eat at reality. So both kinds of spirits give the realm a very wide berth. Ironically however, the Abyss acts as a beacon or "spiritual" magnet to spirits. Anyone attempting to summon a spirit whiles in the realm, will find it very easy to do so.
- Main article: Nightmaster
A powerful Shadow Lord that has taken up residence in the gloomy realm. Nightmaster is a terribly potent figure that has sacrificed its own soul to the realm to obtain power over it.
The Hive of the Jagged Maw
The Hive of the Jagged Maw is a group of Black Spiral Dancers that have chosen to dwell permanently in the Abyss. This insane group is devoted to the worship of the aspect of the Triadic Wyrm known as the Eater of Souls, the leader of this hive, lead by its priestess Grythyg, believes the realm to be the mouth of this Wyrm incarnation. Members of remain by the great pit, enacting horrific rites in preparation for the Apocalypse, when they believe the Wyrm-monster will rise from the ground and devour the world. Members of this hive seek to keep the Abyss "pure" of outside contamaninates. This of course means keeping those devoted to Gaia from "polluting" the region. Cunningly they often pretend to be lost Gaian Garou. Once a pack has "located" one of them, they ambush them, and then relish their victories by torturing and tossing their would be "saviors" into the Abyss alive.
As one can imagine they hate Nightmaster with a passion, but as his forces are greater then their own, there is little they can do about him. In a twist of irony, hive members occasionally aid in his lesser schemes in an attempt to gain information about his weaknesses. To date. they have found none.
The Lost Legion
As of late, Umbral travelers have started to see strange phantasmal figures near the Abyss. They bear the chill of the Low Umbra, and appear to be the spirits of the human dead. Coming in many shapes, but all bear weapons, cuirasses and hauberks of black iron. Moving in with the preciseness of a military formation and bearing a soldierly seeming, they handle the swords, pikes, guns and other armorment with ease. Once in service to the Lords of the Dead, these hapless ghosts were blasted from their posts in a great spirit-storm. And try as they might they are unable to find their way back from this umbral realm. Now this rag-tag hodge-podge of a military unit has erected an encampment along the Iron Path, claiming it as their home. As of yet they are uncertain what to make of their new surroundings, and are wary of travelers. They know of Nightmaster, but nothing more.