Quarters of the Marches

By James Walker


A piece of throwaway canon in S3 refers to the "Wardens of The Four Quarters" - senior Dreamers responsible for Blandine's March. The line has fascinated me, and I've finally worked out how to Quarter the Vale.

Each Quarter of Blandine's March responds to two choirs of angels; they treat the Quarter as a Domain (Perception checks to detect any Disturbance they create from outside the Quarter have a -5 penalty) and the Dreamers they tend here are usually closer in outlook to the angels. Usually, the two choirs will be ones who normally suffer personality clashes - apparently the conflict generated is an important part of the nature of The Quarters.

Interestingly, one band of demons will also have a link to the Quarter - every point of dissonance the demon has (from Band dissonance only) grants -1 penalty to detect the demon's Disturbance - even by beings who are also inside the Quarter.

Of course, Beleth's March is also Quartered, with two Bands treating the Quarter as a domain, and one choir benefiting when dissonant. The borders between Quarters are invisible; Celestials know when they have entered or left "their" Quarter, but they are otherwise unremarkable.

The Quarter of Words

Home to both Seraphim and Mercurians, the Quarter of Words attracts dreamers who seek to fulfil their Dreams by talking; inspiring speeches, impassioned debates and touching heartfelt phrases bring a dreamer here. A Dreamshaping roll here by either a Seraph of Mercurian allows the angel to replay conversation which has recently influenced the dreamer; the angel can resonate on the speakers (treat as a recording), and gift the dreamer with the information gained from the resonance. The choirs rarely agree on what is appropriate - the Truth of a Seraph may contradict and be contradicted by the social connections of a Mercurian as what people say and what they really care about are often unrelated.

The Quarter of Words borders the Near Marches; the ephemeral nature of words links it to the wilder regions of The Marches. Dissonant Djinn often flee here; obsessed with the thoughts of others, they seek to manipulate the dreamers - and either admit their feelings and seek Redemption, or are destroyed.

The Quarter of Hopes

Watched over by Elohim and Menunim, the dreamers in the Quarter of Hopes are drawn onwards by the potential of the future - or better yet of the present.

Here they may be cheered on by Menunim - or have their hopes gently redirected by an Elohite, to a more achievable goal. The Quarter of Hopes adjoins the Border Marches; as the dreamers hopes become reality, their dreamscape slowly, night by night, drifts closer to the Quarter of Deeds. A Balseraph whose lies have unwound will sometimes head here to destroy the human who 'slandered' them, and find the domain aids them - for they too have hopes. The angels here are not so forgiving!

The Quarter of Deeds

Under the shadow of Gabriel's volcano is the realm of those who strive for victory, and dream strong dreams of success. Only those who have the confidence to succeed dream here; to be shown a swifter route by Ofanim, or to be slowed down, and shown a more ethical path by Blandine's Malakim.

Pachadim who have repeatedly failed to break the wills of their human 'victims' sometimes follow the dreamers here, seeking a resolution - whether that be Redemption, the Pachadite's death - or the soul death of the dreamer.

The Quarter of Cares

Wedged in by the Near and Border Marches, the dreamers here dream tired dreams, seeking a brief nightly respite from their daily burdens. Many legends of 'little helpers' or stories of 'sleepwalking' start here, as

Kyriotates in this Quarter may use their resonance to possess a dreamer's body, handling tasks for the human that night while the careworn mortal gets a decent night's sleep. The Cherubim who also guard this Quarter regards this as 'band aid treatment' and guide the dreams of their charges, to find solutions to the many problems which face them. An Impudite who has seen too many needless deaths may find himself here; some seek redemption; others simply seek to sleep; eventually the Quarter forms a small domain around the Impudite, where they can sleep until Judgement Day, and have their dissonance stripped away by the resurrection of the dead.

And then there is Beleth's realm:

The Quarter of Hearts

Closest to the Border Marches, this domain is filled by those who have been entranced by evil. Here Beleth's Impudites may spend a half hour or more in a Dreamscape, using the Ethereal Song of Projection to completely bend a human's mind to their will, while Balseraphs smother their victims with the Fear of being "left out", of not being good enough for the Balseraph.

Dissonant Elohim are sometimes drawn here; the ability to lash out as those they have lost their objectivity over lures them - as a stepping stone to Hell. Soldiers of Hell are often recruited here, and the less openly evil ethereals often work here, helping humans to love - demons.

The Quarter of Passions

Dreamers here have their most cherished hopes and dreams drawn out to be mocked and belittled by Pachadim, or are torn down by the fury of the Habbalah, little more than marionettes dancing to the Punisher's tune. A dreamer's only hope here is that the demons will argue over him - that a Pachadite will accuse the Habbalite of clumsy heavy handedness, while the Habbalite seeks to punish the lily livered demon who seems to think that he serves Dark Humor. But such a respite will only be a chance to cower before the demons, until the winner once again turns his attention to the luckless mortal - unless the mortal flees to the adjoining Near Marches, and wanders into the domains of the Old gods.

The Quarter of Bonds

Pained by an unfulfilled Geas; terrified by a Stalker; the dreamers hear the demons demands in their nightmares, seek release from the unbreakable bonds. Any human who feels trapped, enslaved or controlled may end up here, to be a demonic plaything, in a Quarter surrounded on all sides: by the other three Quarters, and by Beleth's Tower.

Although normally friendly, Djinn and Lilim find their different approaches do not gel well here. Any time a Djinn enters the dream of his attuned, the dreamscape will drift here (after being brought to Beleth's realm, should that be necessary); while any dreamer can easily leave if a Lilim is in his dreamscape. This clash ignores a simple, dark truth: if a Lilim is in the dreamscape, the dreamer may indeed make a Will roll to wake, or to leave Beleth's march, true; and will succeed whether the roll is made or failed; but if the roll is failed they will owe a Geas to the Lilim equal to the CD of the failed roll..which means that the following night, they will almost certainly return here. If a Lilim is in a human's dreamscape in this Quarter, the only way to avoid the risk of a geas is to refuse to leave; something the human will instinctively know.

A dissonant Ofanite will sometimes be found here, bound by something that keeps them from moving on - and sometimes they find destroying that something is the simplest solution.

The Quarter of Pains

Stalked by Calabim and Shedim, this Quarter is a place of raw brutality. Dreamers here are invariably warped by mental Disadvantages, inflicted by repeated Ethereal "deaths", and frequently insane. While the demons slowly tear apart their victims, enjoying their victims pain, and letting the disturbance gradually fade, Soldiers and Dreamshades of Nightmares methodically butcher their way through the Quarter, seeking to meet their nightly quota of Ethereal 'kills'. Should a Mercurian succumb to temptation and attack a human while they sleep, the dreamscape will move into this Quarter, and the dissonance the Mercurian gains will partially mask the Disturbance. The Quarter of Pains stretches from Beleth's Tower to The Near Marches; before the death of Mariel - or perhaps of Vephar? - the River Lethe ran through this Quarter; those who through themselves in had their memories of torment removed, but woke in Hell: their bodies forgetting how to breathe, their souls forgetting all that was bright and pure. Or perhaps that is just a legend, and the truth is long forgotten - the Seraphim who know will not speak, still overwhelmed by grief.


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