The Fourth Great Maelstrom

hen the Fourth Great Maelstrom struck. The carnage of the Great War blossomed into the deadly Maelstrom, which the Hierarchy in the Shadowlands survived only by huddling in their Citadels. Stygia, though awash in the chaos, did not suffer a scratch. Its iron towers were polished to mirror-brightness by the swirling winds.

Still, Spectres took advantage of the chaos to infiltrate the empire to an unprecedented degree. Rising from the deepest pits of the Labyrinth, they followed the roads to the Necropoli and began inserting themselves in secret places amid mortal cities. They began to Skinride people in America, taking advantage of the Citadels’ laxer vigilance: this resulted in several rampant crime waves and many dark doings in the back alleys of the industrialized cities during the ‘20s.

No event caused Spectres more glee than the Great Depression. Specters reveled in the misery caused by poverty, and he Hierarchy had its work cut out for it dealing with the flood of starved, dispossessed, and destitute dead while trying to root out the Spectres. Charon offered a bounty of 30 oboli to any wraith or wraiths who brought him the ears or other important parts of slain Spectres. It was discovered that Spectre teeth were particularly hardy and hard to fake: they became the standard. Many wraiths became what are known as Doomslayers, professional bounty hunters who hunted down Spectres and turned in their teeth for oboli.

Meanwhile, in Europe, Spectres gleefully flocked to the Nazi regime in Germany, gorging on the hate and terror. Although Hitler himself was not a puppet of the Spectres, several of Hitler’s top aides were influenced and regularly possessed by the Spectres of Berlin.

When World War II began, Charon finally saw a chance to make war on the Jade Emperor, who had denied Charon an entire section of San Francisco and threatened to usurp sections of Stygia. One of the reason that the conflicts in the Pacific were so bloody and destructive was that, right along side the mortals’ carriers and battleships, the iron cruisers of Stygia’s Legions battled the junks of the Jade Emperor.