Summer Country

A Slice of Heaven

The Summer Country is one of the Near Realms in the Umbra. Of all the Near Realms, the Summer Country is the hardest realm to find and enter. In fact, it's so hard to find that many Garou don't believe the place exists. These shapeshifters scoff at tales of the place, claiming them to be the result of a particularly lovely (but ephemeral) Vista or simply too much Fianna elderberry wine.

The Summer Country itself, if the tales are to be believed, is a lush, verdant isle rising from an ocean of purest azure. Here it is perpetually spring, and the sky is either crisp and clear or pouring with a gentle, nurturing rain. High in the sky is a floating island, Cloudtop High; which serves as an aviary for flying creatures of all descriptions — birds, bats, even a few pterodactyls. The birds freely ferry travelers to and from the isle. Atop the isle lies a great castle of vines, where mystics of all peoples may go to commune with Gaia.

Countless species of flora and fauna — many of which are extinct in the World of Darkness — exist harmoniously here. Predators and prey dwell together, each understanding the role of the other. While the laws of nature are still in effect here, and predators fulfill their assigned roles as hunters, they slay their prey as part of a sacred ritual, and the prey suffers almost no pain. All creatures that die or are hurt here are reborn whole the following dawn.

Other dwellers in the Summer Country include human emanations, fortunate shapeshifters of all Breeds, and spirits. All live in harmony with one another, treating each other and their opinions and differences with respect. In this place, all creatures exist in harmony and oneness with Gaia.

Besides Cloudtop High, several other geographical features remain constant from visit to visit. In the Mountains of the Moon, travelers can experience the rugged wilderness of the primordial earth. All manner of species roam the craggy peaks, and this place is where the creatures of the Summer Country go to exert themselves and keep fit. The center of the Mountains of the Moon is Mount Peace, the tallest peak in the realm. The Garden of Delight is an Edenic realm, where new forms of life are continually being tested and created. The fittest of these creatures are incarnated on Earth as new species.

Two forests, the Forest of Longing and the Forest of Promise, cover the east and west sides of the isle. In the midst of the Forest of Promise lies the Enchanted Glade, which houses a vast amphitheater. The amphitheater is where the realm's inhabitants come to gather, discuss, and celebrate. The Forest of Longing is the gateway to the Summer Country. Its paths are wandered by those travelers who can't quite reach the state of soul to journey to the rest of the isle: bitter cynics who want to love but can't quite do so. In the beautiful Forest of Longing, these souls find some respite, but it is always tinged with wistful remorse.

In the midst of a lush turquoise lagoon formed by the Summer Isle's east and west banks lies a smaller isle, the Isle of the Self. This isle is the primary shrine to Gaia and is the power source of the entire realm. On the Isle of the Self is the Well of Life, a fount of purest spring water. All who drink from the Well are cured of any illnesses — mental or physical — that plague them.

Coming Home and Paradise Lost

More so even than the Atrocity Realm, the Summer Country is a state of being rather than a "physical" realm. To have even a chance of finding the Summer Country, a shapeshifter must be at peace with themselves and with other creatures. Simply put, she must love herself and everything around her, accepting that every being (even the Wyrm) has a place and worthy of respect. Easier said than done, in this latter age. Can a Garou truly not only forgive, but openly revere, the rival who slighted her, the ex-lover who broke her heart, the Black Spiral who tortured her pack mate to death? Most of all, can a Garou accept and love her own weaknesses, failures, and faults? If this state of acceptance and enlightenment is not attained, the being will never enter Summer Country. Some shapeshifters enter the realm through the Forest of Longing. By passing through the Forest, the shapeshifter finds himself overwhelmed with memories of happier times now faded. Other shapeshifters can find the place through particularly happy and enlightening journeys through the Dream Zone.

The Summer Country is open only to those who become truly one with Gaia, however briefly. Upon leaving the realm, the memories of the place often seem hazy and distant, like a faded dream. It is this quality that leads many shapeshifters to question the realm's existence. In fact, the Summer Country is as real as any other Near Realm. Once back in the material world, however, the traveler's heart often hardens once more into the rigors of daily life — and thus the magic of the Summer Country fades and (in many cases) is forgotten.

The Latter Days

The taint of the Wyrm has not yet touched the Summer Country, but the inhabitants of the realm are not naive. They know that sooner or later, if the Wyrm continues to grow strong, its taint will reach even their soil. As such, the inhabitants of the isle increasingly divide themselves into two camps. One camp wishes to seal off the Summer Country from the rest of the Umbra forever, giving up Earth as lost and hoping to preserve a little pocket of beauty and peace. The second camp acknowledges that the fate of the Summer Country depends on the fate of the rest of Gaia. These beings advocate actively assisting the rest of Gaia's creatures, opening the Summer Country as a place of refuge and healing — even if it means risking being overrun by the Wyrm. Of course, the wisest among the Summer Country's inhabitants realize that the dissent between the two camps is itself divisive, and thus runs the risk of destroying the Summer Country forever. However, their voices go largely unheard amid the increasingly partisan calls for separation or action.

Songs of the Soul

In order to enter the Summer Country, a shapeshifter must come to an inner epiphany. They must enter a state of true love and respect for all creatures, including herself. While in the Summer Country, should a shapeshifter act differently from this idealized state, they are summarily transported from the realm back into the Near Umbra or the material world, with only a vague memory of her time in the Summer Country.

  • Characters who leave the Summer Country may return to the material world at any moment in time after they left. They may return to the spot at which they entered, or they may return to another place of their choosing, so long as that place is filled with the nurturing energy of Gaia.
  • Violence and death are not impossible in the realm, but all creatures that are injured or killed are completely restored to health with the coming of the next dawn.
  • Pain may exist in the realm, but it is fleeting and never agonizing. All difficulties induced by wounds are halved.
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