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This page is for commentary on and regarding Days of Fire. Click here for additional commentaries.

Springtime of the WorldEdit

[1] Here, God (depicted as female), the elohim (angels), and the world they created are all already in existence together as the narrative begins.
[2] Man (Adam) and Woman (presumably Eve in this context) are created by God and the angels as a gift for one another.
[3] God orders the angels to betray Her, forcing choice upon them for the first time. This may well be the first of many signs that Lucifer is an unreliable narrator: this frames his subsequent rebellion as the ultimate act of loyalty.
[4] Four angels (Ahrimal, Belial, Lailah and Usiel) gather, and the Light (Lucifer) appears before them. Following the Great Debate that ensues, Ahrimal and Belial join with Lucifer, while Lailah and Usiel remain loyal to God.
[5] Lucifer demands that Man, Woman, and their two sons choose sides. Adam, Eve, and Caine choose to side with Lucifer, while Abel remains loyal to God.
[6] The Fall, both of Man and of Lucifer's rebellious angels. The Age of Wrath begins.

Summer of the WorldEdit

[7] At the start of the Age of Wrath, two-thirds of angels and one-quarter of humanity remain loyal to God; the rest are with Lucifer. The reference to humanity at large implies that the human race has already begun to multiply beyond just Adam, Eve, Caine and Abel.
[8] Strife from the War creates discord among humanity and in Creation as a whole for the first time.
[9] All of humanity suffers in this new world. Those loyal to Lucifer suffer all the more for knowing that they have left God's grace, while those who remain loyal are comfortably ignorant of their own suffering. By now, humanity has grown to the extent that there are tribes of both loyal and rebellious mortals.
[10] Caine makes a gift to God; the gift is the sacrifice of his brother Abel, and the act of sacrifice is the first murder.
[11] God rejects Caine's gift, and in turn, he rejects Her. As Caine speaks against Her, both humans and angels listen. Through him, they learn of deception and murder.
[12] Having learned deception from Caine, rebel angels demand that humans pay homage to them instead of God. They call themselves gods, and earn the epithet of demons.
[13] The angels-turned-demons usurp the Lores of the loyal angels by devouring them.
[14] God sends his angels to forgive Caine, but Caine rebuffs the offer. His rejection of God's messengers bars Caine from the sun's light, from peace, and from death.
[15] The demons demand homage from humanity, as they slaughter one-tenth of the host of angels in their greed for the angels' Lores.
[16] God's angels rout the demons, slaughtering an equal number of the Fallen and punishing their human followers in turn.
[17] God creates new forces of fire, wind, and the wild to seek out and eradicate the demons. (Most likely the origin of the Malhim, or possibly that of the imbued hunters, mages, the Changing Breeds, or some other force.)
[18] The demons, having been defeated, create a haven for those human souls that had been forcibly disembodied by the Fallen; this refuge will come to be known as the Shadowlands.

Autumn of the WorldEdit

[19] The demons are cursed by God, and the Abyss is created as their prison.
[20] The angels leave the human world, and one-fifth of the host have Fallen and been imprisoned; humanity begins to forget their false gods. The numbers of those trapped in the Abyss are three higher than the previous numbers would suggest, as three loyal angels (seen again later, in verse 85) were also bound in the Abyss.
[21] Humans eventually rediscover and choose to invoke the names and powers of the angels and demons.
[22] Caine, seeing the angels and demons gone, sets himself up as a king with his get of thirteen at his side.
[23] Some humans, upon death, choose not to go on to the unknown afterlife but instead linger in the Shadowlands, trapped in what had been initially made to be a refuge.
[24] The souls in the Shadowlands are influenced by Oblivion, which God had given as a final respite to the Fallen; this influence splits the soul into two parts, the Psyche and Shadow.
[25] Caine summons wraiths from the Shadowlands. Others come to learn how to summon up those from the Shadowlands and, in time, from the Abyss.
[26] The first five Earthbound, the Archdukes, are summoned from the Pit unto the Earth. Caine raises up his great city; when his children go to war, he curses them (presumably this is the origin of the clans' weaknesses). Gaia creates or calls upon the Garou in response to these threats, but the werewolves suffer without the sisters they slew (presumably the other fera they slew in the War of Rage; the language used here also deliberately invokes the Lunar Exalted having lost their Solar companions). Mankind goes to war with itself.
[27] The debasement of life and death (either a reference to necromancy or to the genesis of Spectres), hunger turned to rage (Cainites' frenzied Hunger), and the corruption of the highest arts (infernalism, possibly referring to the genesis of the Nephandi) all prompt God to inundate the Earth with the Deluge.
[28] The various peoples scattered across the Earth recover: first the Jews under Noah's guidance, then the aboriginal Australians, then the Native Americans, then the Asians of the Middle Kingdom, and finally the Africans. Nearly all of the knowledge of antediluvian humanity has been lost.
[29] Democracy first flourishes in ancient Greece, but only for men.
[30] Romulus and Remus, suckled by a wolf-mother, form the founding myth of Rome, whose empire grows to encompass the lands of the Jews and parts of Africa.
[31] Jesus comes from the Jews and preaches what becomes the Christian faith. The bitter enemy who converts might be the apostle Paul, or it might be the Roman Empire itself, which converts to Christianity.
[32] The empires of China grow greater than Rome, and remain greater as Rome falls and the Dark Ages and the First Great Maelstrom begin.
[33] Mohammed and the religion of Islam rise from the traditions of the Jews and Christians. (In Islam, there are five pillars, not seven as stated here. This could be a somewhat veiled reference to the first sura of the Koran, which is seven lines long and which states the fundamental tenets of the faith, or it could be a reference to the seven pillars of Ismailism, or it could be an allusion to something else entirely.)
[34] The Second Great Maelstrom rises out of the land of the dead. The two who embrace the curse of Caine during this time are presumably Tremere and Augustus Giovanni; this might simply refer to their respective Embraces, or to the diableries that they committed on Saulot and Cappadocius, respectively.
[35] This is likely a reference to the Anarch Revolt, in which the young vampires rise up against the old. The reference to weakness in fourteen would refer to the fact that thin-blooded vampires are more frequent in the fourteenth generation. Alternately, it could reference the diableries committed by Tremere and Augustus, as mentioned above; both slain Antediluvians linger on in some form, and either one could be the extra one who brings the number of Antediluvians up from thirteen to fourteen. In this case, Saulot would be the better fit of the two, as he is still capable of acting as an Antediluvian.
[36] Celibate priests form the Inquisition, and threaten the good and the wicked alike.
[37] The Renaissance arises from the long shadow of the Dark Ages. The man with the glass eye is likely Galileo using a telescope; the man with the silver nose is Tycho Brahe; and the astronomically-inclined wise fool who is their contemporary is presumably Johannes Kepler. The tribe they unwittingly inspire is the Order of Reason (later the Technocracy).
[38] European sailors arrive in the Americas, bringing with them plagues, horses, gunpowder, and vermin.
[39] The destruction of the Native American empires causes the Third Great Maelstrom, and the transatlantic African slave trade begins.
[40] During the Industrial Revolution, the Order of Reason begins to successfully co-opt the dogmatism of the three Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) for its own ends.
[41] Europeans travel east, using opium and alcohol as tools to force China and the Aboriginal Australians into submission.
[42] This is allusion to what is to come, particularly the return of the Fallen. The children of the world referenced here may be the younger and more modern nations, such as the United States. The reference to those who do not act until acted upon may also reference the USA, such as when the United States is forced out of isolationism in the two World Wars. Alternately, this could be an oblique reference to the Anarch Revolt, or to the formation of the Council of Nine Mystic Traditions under the onslaught of the Order of Reason, although both of those already happened much earlier in the internal chronology of the stanzas of Days of Fire.

Winter of the WorldEdit

[43] The two Ministers are the only angels that remain outside of Heaven, the Fallen remain trapped in the Abyss, the Earthbound still slumber beneath the Earth, and Lucifer still wanders eternally.
[44] The Order of Reason (which has probably become the Technocracy by this point), blinded by hubris, believes itself to have won the Ascension War against the nine Traditions.
[45] This could refer to the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, or the Victorian Age: all periods of time in which Westerners develop their own philosophies even as they dominate and exploit other cultures.
[46] Humans have invented (among other things) airplanes, submarines, and motion pictures, but each achievement makes them seek out another, greater one.
[47] Africa is continually looted and divided by Westerners, presaging the outbreak of World War I.
[48] The Great War yields the Fourth Great Maelstrom, which is the greatest Maelstrom yet but will pale in comparison to the two yet to come.
[49] America's intervention brings an end to the Great War, but millions die from the influenza pandemic that follows.
[50] Nazi Germany begins World War II and the Holocaust; the Fifth Great Maelstrom begins.
[51] Japan joins the Axis and invades China; Italy invades Africa in order to divide it up yet again.
[52] America ends the war not with guns but with mastery of the atom; the Cold War begins.
[53] The Berlin Wall is erected as America and the Soviet Union contend with one another. Joseph McCarthy presents his list of 57 Communists as the world lives in fear of a nuclear holocaust.
[54] America fights Communists in Korea and/or Vietnam (this is most likely deliberately vague so that it alludes to both at once). Vampires glut themselves in the shadows, hidden by the Technocracy all the while.
[55] The Technocracy follows every act of exploitation with a creature comfort to soothe the Masses, justifying its actions to itself regardless of its actual deeds.
[56] The Technocracy believes that it has conquered both emotions and the supernatural. The end of this may be a reference to the American flag being planted on the Moon.
[57] Uncertain. Some annotators think that this might be a reference to Martin Luther King, or to the vampiric healer Saulot, who wears the face of his murderer Tremere in the modern nights.
[58] The Mokolé, Garou, Ratkin, and Corax fear the portents of the incipient Apocalypse, while the Rokea simply prepare to endure it.
[59] The Red Star wanders the sky of the spiritual world unseen to mortal eyes, a harbinger of things to come (such as the decline in female birth rates, as mentioned in the Miller Dossier at the end of the book). This could also be meant as a reference to the wanderings of Caine or Lucifer.
[60] Uncertain.
[61] Uncertain. The "bear" was used as a reference to the Soviet Union earlier; possibly this is a reference to some event in Russia, such as the rise or fall of Baba Yaga.
[62] Uncertain.
[63] Uncertain; this may simply be a metaphor, meant to apply to any who would resist the darkness.
[64] The dread and anticipation of the Black Spiral Dancers, Marauders, and Spectres (or Nephandi) are to be fulfilled by the demise of the "True" Black Hand.
[65] Outcast vampires strike against their fellow Kindred; this may be a reference to the Anarch Revolt that established the Anarch Free State. The Traditions see the Technocracy's power calcify; there are only seven traditions in the time between the departure of the Solificati and Ahl-i-Batin and the defection of the Sons of Ether and Virtual Adepts from the Technocracy to the Traditions. The Garou Nation is marshaled together (possibly a reference to the coronation of Jonas Albrecht with the Silver Crown).
[66] Uncertain; if this refers to a literal place, its location may be in the sky, in space, or in the Umbra.
[67] Uncertain.
[68] A reference to the lamp that, in several World of Darkness sources, was given to Constantine the Great when he converted to Christianity and brought the Roman Empire with him. This lamp — a piece of the sun granted to Constantine by God — will be found by one of the imbued, possibly by Joshua Matthews (God45) as hinted at in the Time of Judgment news ticker and in World of Darkness: Time of Judgment.
[69] The reference to the proud gatekeeper is uncertain, but is likely some figure related to the Underworld (such as the Halaku), as the Hives and Memory Towers of the Spectres are mentioned here. The seven lights could be the Sebettu emerging from the Abyss, in which case the eighth, secret light might be the Ministers and/or the Messengers, the three angels mentioned below in verse 85, or Lucifer himself, who is traditionally associated with light (and who is referred to as "the Light" in earlier stanzas of this book). The "proud gatekeeper" is a meta self-reference on the part of the book's author, Greg Stolze: "Gregory" means "watchman" and "Stolze" means "proud".
[70] The reference to hungry people of the wind is uncertain, but may be related to the Middle Kingdom in some way; this may simply be a poetic reference to the Kuei-jin. As Hong Kong is returned to China, the Kuei-jin move in to claim the city that has been returned to them from the grasp of the Kindred.
[71] The Sixth Great Maelstrom erupts; ghosts are thrown from their graves into the Skinlands as the walking dead. The Messengers prepare to stir humanity against the monsters, even as Grandmother awakens.
[72] The Ministers (the Scarlet Queen and the Ebon Dragon) begin to empower the imbued.
[73] The Earthbound stir, awaiting the arrival of the Red Star and the coming of the Last Daughter of Eve (who may literally be the last human female, as implied by reports in the Miller Dossier).
[74] The Perfect Metis is born; it will either save or ruin the Garou before it is an adult.
[75] War and strife continue to rock the Middle East.
[76] The Ravnos Antediluvian awakens, and battles three bodhisattvas of the kuei-jin even as the Technocracy turns its solar mirrors against him.
[77] [Ravnos] is destroyed, and the Ravnos clan turns on itself in an orgy of blood.
[78] Probably referring to the projectors of the Orpheus Group, given the allusion to the Stormwall. "The Dark Mother" is normally a reference to Lilith; here, it might instead be a reference to Grandmother.
[79] Uncertain. The turning millstone of souls might be the pigment cults of Grandmother's Spectres or even the Orpheus Group themselves. Alternately, it could refer to a literal object, such as the Angst Battery of the Pardoners' Guild in Stygia, which was shattered in Ends of Empire. The "Blood Traitors" might be wraiths who have betrayed their kin, such as Orphan-Grinders, Shades, Doppelgangers, or Spectres in general. Taking the "blood" reference more literally, they might instead be vampires — either vampires in general or a specific treacherous group of them, such as the antitribu or the clans that descended from diablerie (Giovanni, Tremere, and Brujah).
[80] In the Greek stronghold of the Orphic Circle, a great tree becomes home to a powerful Spectral force in the wake of the destruction of the True Black Hand, as seen in Hunter: The Walking Dead and Hunter: First Contact.
[81] Lucifer appears over Los Angeles, as seen in Lucifer's Shadow: Tales of Fallen Angels and DTF: City of Angels Bullet-pdf Bullet-nip.
[82] The tree in the desert is Avitu, who sought to return humans to the innocence they possessed before the Fall, as depicted in the Trilogy of the Fallen. (This could instead be read as reference to the ghoul mages of House Tytalus as seen in Blood Treachery, who traded independence and dynamism in exchange for power to use against the Technocracy, but the next section continues from this verse and is an even more explicit reference to Avitu.)
[83] Avitu is cut down by the angel Usiel, as seen in the Trilogy of the Fallen.
[84] The Archdukes awaken in their reliquary prisons, and the rest of the Fallen are loosed from their Abyssal prison to inhabit mortal shells.
[85] The three angels who were willingly imprisoned in the Abyss (Usiel and two others) are freed: Usiel is the Reaper of Souls, as depicted in Trilogy of the Fallen; the Angel of Pain is not depicted elsewhere; and the undetailed third demon is called Forguel, according to World of Darkness: Time of Judgment.
[86] Vassago, the Seer of Scorn, has made pacts with two of the imbued in his quest to understand and corrupt them, as detailed in Hunter: Fall From Grace. The female imbued who Vassago uses here is Leaf Pankowski (Potter116), the second of the two "infernal" hunters he has claimed; his unlikely redemption from love does eventually occur after a fashion, as seen in World of Darkness: Time of Judgment.
[87] Presumably this is a metaphor for humanity (or just the supernaturals) giving up hope for the future in the face of the imminent end times.
[88] This awakening of inner light could refer to the creation of a new wave (or new type) of imbued or Awakened. Regardless of their identity, their power poses a threat both to the demons and to humanity itself; the wayward hunters and extremist hunters could both easily fall into these categories.
[89] As depicted later in the book's "Miller Dossier", the speed of light has begun to increase; reality has begun to move out of the bounds of the Technocracy's Consensus.
[90] The Red Star becomes visible, and the Garou see it as the opening of the Eye of the Wyrm. Demons claim the most strong-willed as thralls; this may be another reference to the infernal extremists from Hunter: Fall From Grace. Ghosts and the walking dead increase in activity, possibly because of the decay or tearing of the Shroud. The living traveling to the depths of the Underworld is depicted in End Game, the final chapter in the Orpheus chronicle/metaplot. In the end, the World of Darkness will be revealed as it truly is for all to see, and humanity must make a final choice.

Three Paths Through the Burning ForestEdit

The book's introduction by Yves Darra notes that this section, in its entirety, comprises 57 stanzas: the number of "blind fear" according to stanza 53. If the allusion in that stanza caries over to this section, it could be a general warning of metaphorical or literal witch-hunts to come over the course of, or in reaction to, one or all of these paths.

[91] The end comes with the titular "days of fire". The transition from autumn to winter (a theme repeated here from the titles of the previous chapters of the book) may refer to the decline of the human race, or even to the coming Winter of the changelings. The last generations of humanity have one last chance to save their race as the world burns.
[92] The fires that consume the world blind humanity to heavenly (or otherworldly) guidance; mortals must find their own way.
[93] The "middle world" of humanity burns in fires from both heaven and earth. The fires lurking within the Earth could be the Earthbound (more explicitly alluded to in the next stanza), and the fires from the heavens could be the Fallen or even the angels. (The "above"/"below" references might instead be an occluded reference to the levels of the Umbra, though the language referring to fires from the earth seems too specific to refer to the Underworld.)
[94] The Earth is made unstable (metaphorically or even literally), and the Earthbound within it are ready to give tainted guidance to humanity.
[95] As humankind comes to a crossroads, they must resist both the urge to rise up against enemies that cannot be defeated and the urge to surrender to those enemies.

The First PathEdit

[96] The beasts could be a metaphor for simple, innocent, uncorrupted behavior — exactly the sort of behavior needed to survive according to "The First Path". If the beasts aren't simply poetic language, they could be some group of fera.
[97] An empire burns, but its destruction is so far removed as to have no effect on individuals (at least, not on those individuals who have the chance to walk this path). Possibly a reference to the decline or fall of some powerful nation (such as the United States) or to one of the major supernatural conspiracies (such as the Camarilla or even Pentex).
[98] The only way to survive is to stay on the path with unswerving adherence...
[99] ...but some will ignore that command, and will look off of the path, and be harmed or driven mad...
[100] ...and will wander from the path, to be consumed by the fanning flames.
[101] The fire of this path may be the same fire that lies within the "Bright Shiners" (the imbued) in the final nights.
[102] Again, those on this path who seek out knowledge of the truth will be destroyed by it.
[103] The Garou are driven mad with rage under the light of the moon, and turn on one another under the light of the Red Star. Each tribe suffers its own dark fate.
[104] The fates of several tribes are given:
[105] The fates of the remaining tribes are given:
  • The Glass Walkers are destroyed by a betrayal from one of their own.
  • The Red Talons fall into cannibalism; this could refer to the eating of wolves, of Garou in general, or of other Red Talons specifically. It's unlikely that this refers to the Talons eating humans, as the Talons are thoroughly non-human (and so their eating humans would technically not qualify as cannibalism) and have a tribal history of man-eating.
  • The Shadow Lords are enslaved by the darkness, the Silent Striders are silenced, and the Stargazers are blinded.
  • The Uktena and Wendigo find a new "father" (possibly some Wyrm-creature such as the Storm-Eater, or a Wyrm-tainted totem) and are defiled.
  • The Silver Fangs bloody themselves in boundless killing.
  • The Black Spiral Dancers suffer the darkest fate of all the tribes.
[106] The Awakened (mages and Technocrats alike) have, in their hubris, placed themselves in a position of mastery over humanity, but this mastery does not give them the wisdom needed to endure.
[107] The Technocracy is unable to even determine if they have failed, and the five Conventions crumble apart.
  • Iteration X, in trying to shatter the limits of flesh and matter, instead locks itself within those bounds.
  • The New World Order (and/or Panopticon) finds that its predictions, like all predictions (including the prophecies within Days of Fire itself) are meaningless; this may be a specific reference to the Time Table becoming increasingly unreliable or simply irrelevant.
  • The Void Engineers become spiritually lost, possibly suggesting a fall to the Nephandi (as seen in Technocracy: Void Engineers) or some other source of corruption or malaise.
  • The Syndicate find that their ambition has rendered their fortunes empty.
  • The Progenitors attempt to subvert and reinvent life, but their subversion creates nothing; it can only destroy.
[108] The walls close in on the Technocracy (possibly suggesting that the bounds of the Consensus have rejected them), and those who they had sidelined — the mages — exult in their weakness.
  • The Nephandi find that the depravity they sought was always within their grasp (or was within themselves, even from the moment of Awakening).
  • The Marauders lose their individual identities to madness, and are gladdened by this metamorphosis.
  • The Akashic Brotherhood are forced to make a choice, but the choice is antithetical or outright impossible.
  • The Celestial Chorus learns that something other than the One has heard their prayers.
  • The Cult of Ecstasy are confronted with their insignificance in the face of Armageddon.
  • The Dreamspeakers, given the chance to choose between the past and present, choose poorly.
  • The Euthanatos find no answers in death; ultimately, they only find death.
  • The Order of Hermes finds terminal misfortune in "thirteen, nineteen and seventeen"; these are prime numbers, suggesting that their end may come from Prime itself, or from some group empowered by Prime, such as the Celestial Chorus, the Templars, or some variety of Awakened Inquisitors. (As a probably-irrelevant aside, each Mage: The Ascension book up until Revised had a number on the spine; the books bearing these three numbers are, in order, Mage: The Ascension Second Edition, The Book of Mirrors: The Mage Storytellers Guide, and Book of Crafts.) Alternately, stanzas 13, 19 and 17 of this book refer to the Fallen stealing power from one another, being bound and punished by God, and having instruments of divine wrath loosed against them.
  • The Sons of Ether learn the folly of having chosen false principles like ether over truth (or, more fatalistically, they simply learn the folly in resisting the Technocracy and their Consensus).
  • The Verbena, wielding blood magic to the very end, are bloodied and slain in kind.
  • The Virtual Adepts surrender the truth (and possibly Ascension) in favor of some Virtual Reality.
  • The others — the Hollow Ones, Orphans, and Disparates — are all lost to their own distinct deaths.
[109] The vampires continue to wage their eternal struggle against one another, even in the face of Gehenna. Although they might collectively have some means to avert the apocalypse prophesied by the Red Star (possibly via blood magic), they will inevitably succumb to the treachery and kinslaying of the Jyhad.
[110] Every clan will be used up and devoured, possibly by the Antediluvians themselves.
  • The Ventrue starve as their refined palates turn corrupt.
  • The Lasombra are found false by the shadows, and fade with their own shadows in the light of the fire (or of the sun).
  • The Ravnos all die just and lonely deaths.
  • The Brujah master their Beasts, only to learn that they needed the Beast to survive. (The phrase "fair and foul" may indicate that this fate awaits both the main clan and their antitribu, or even the main clan and the True Brujah; certainly the submission or death of the Beast would bring the main clan closer to their "True" counterparts. On a probably unrelated note, the original Brujah Antediluvian appears in the scenario in the Gehenna sourcebook titled "Fair is Foul"; here, he is named as Ilyes and is allied with Lilith against Caine and the majority of Kindred, including his own namesake clan.)
  • The Toreador become more loathsome than any, and despair when they come to see themselves for what they truly are.
  • The Nosferatu are devoured by the Nictuku.
  • The Giovanni and Tremere are dealt with by the lost scions of the clans they usurped: the Harbingers of Skulls and the Salubri.
  • The Gangrel are lost to the Beast as animals, and are forgotten by all.
  • The Tzimisce are thoroughly tainted by their Vicissitude (and, presumably, by the Eldest acting through that taint).
  • The Assamites are lost to an impossible orgy of internecine diablerie.
  • The Followers of Set are the only clan to die out without seeing their Antediluvian progenitor (and, in their case, their god) rise up once more.
  • The Malkavians lose whatever protection their madness might have provided in the face of the fate that awaits them.
[111] Even as the clans fall, the Antediluvians, and possibly even Caine himself, will be swept aside as one, presumably by God or the angels. Only after these first scions of the Fall have become the last to be cast aside will it be safe for humanity to look up from the path.
[112] Those who remained on the path with their eyes downcast will find another path that leads them out of the flames unscathed and unchanged.
[113] Once the path has been trod, the flames become ash, and humanity gains the ability to sleep soundly once more.

The Second PathEdit

[114] This second path is broader, and was purposefully meant for humans to follow. Here, the danger in the surrounding flames is visible to all...
[115] ...but as one walks this road, it becomes clear that the road itself is a path formed by death and made for disaster.
[116] This road shows portents that bear ill for all who would walk upon it, both mortals and their would-be supernatural oppressors alike.
[117] The Fallen, once the first to be led into deception, will be given the first chance to lead the world to redemption or damnation, as they bend nature and humanity to their will through their Lores.
  • The Namaru (Devils), for all their power, cannot control the fire within humanity. This could refer to human willpower and creativity, or to the inner spark that empowers the imbued (or the Awakened). It could instead refer to the power of the atom — in other words, the references to an "ultimate light" and a "dark sky of ash" would refer not to a manifestation of demonic, divine, or magical power, but instead to the use and aftermath of nuclear weapons.
  • The Asharu (Scourges) attempt without success to guard mankind from the tempting product of deliberate malice; this threat sweeps across the earth to threaten all of humanity, from the smallest child to the greatest nation. Given the references in this section to heat and wind, this may refer to nuclear fallout or even to some aftereffect of global warming; in the World of Darkness, global warming is to some extent the result of deliberate malice on the part of Pentex and other servants of the Wyrm. Alternately, it could refer to some form of biological or chemical weapons, which could be transmitted in the wind and could certainly cause a burning sensation in its victims.
  • The Annunaki (Malefactors) unwittingly bind themselves with their own creations.
  • The Neberu (Fiends) attempt to bind fate in their pursuit of hatred, and learn of all possibilities save for those that result from God's own choices. This could mean that the Fallen cannot predict free will, in which case they naturally cannot perfectly predict human behavior, either.
  • The Lammasu (Defilers) will learn to mourn for human heartbreak and loss. (Possibly another reference to Vassago's redemption.)
  • The Rabisu (Devourers) will be left to deal with the monstrous children of their own works.
  • The Halaku (Slayers) find the final death is that which comes when life does not come at all, and are given a restless respite from their harvest of souls.
Taken as a whole, this stanza could refer to the effects of a global thermonuclear war: the devastation of humanity, the destruction of their creations, the fruitless mutation of newborn life, and, in the end, the annihilation of the human race — or of all life on Earth.
[118] All mankind will learn of the World of Darkness as revealed by the light of the fire. The fire will ignite a spark within flesh and spirit (possibly referring to the creation of further imbued, or even to the imbuing of the entire human race).
[119] The Masquerade is broken, allowing the kine to turn against their former keepers, and the Disciplines begin to fail:
  • Vicissitude is countered or somehow cured by its "mate" (possibly the Tzimisce's sorcerous Discipline of Koldunic Sorcery, the Old Clan Tzimisce's Discipline of Auspex, or even the Salubri's healing Discipline of Obeah/Valeren).
  • Thaumaturgy and other forms of blood magic wane in power as the Red Star is eclipsed.
  • Serpentis fails under the Red Star's occlusion, leaving the Setites vulnerable.
  • Quietus fails when the vampires' victims are made aware of their presence.
  • Protean cannot hide the Kindred from the fire; instead, the earth itself burns those who would hide within.
  • Dominate will no longer allow the Ventrue or other undead tyrants to rule over mankind.
  • Celerity provides no avenue of escape for the undead.
  • Obfuscate can provide no disguise.
  • Potence retains is strength, but that strength is meaningless against that of mortal technology and ingenuity.
  • The shadows of Obtenebration fade under the light, the protection of Fortitude is shattered, and the majesty of Presence fades away.
  • Dementation can provide no insight into a world that has itself gone mad.
  • Necromancy will prove its own downfall as the shades of the Underworld come to claim their dues.
  • Animalism fails as even the beasts learn to resist the powers of the dead.
  • Chimerstry is countered when humanity closes their ears and eyes to the deceptions of the Kindred.
In the end, the Kindred will be nothing more than ash blowing in the wind.
[120] The Spheres no longer resonate with the Song of the One, but are instead tainted, their music made audible and horrific to the Sleepers.
  • Correspondence becomes an indecipherable prison to those who would use it to flee.
  • Entropy, already tainted and fallen, declines in power until it cannot be weakened any further.
  • Life becomes twisted and maddened.
  • Forces meets its match in that which resists mere force.
  • Matter unknowingly begets its own downfall from its own works.
  • Mind turns inward, trapped in its own thoughts.
  • Spirit is humbled and dominated by that which lies beyond the Avatar Storm.
  • Time proves to be the master of those who would master it.
[121] Finally, the Sphere of Prime does not master the world, but instead its use weakens it at its most fundamental level, until Prime would become the cornerstone of nothingness.
[122] Some mages, such as the Nephandi, will not resist the end, but will instead call the Red Star near. The Marauders will see the end coming, and their voices will be heard alongside those of the Nephandi. The Red Star reaches the midpoint of its ascent, and its light stains that of the moon. The remaining humans, the last generation of humanity, are left to defend against the creatures of the night. When the Red Star finally reaches its peak, it brings about a new world of eternal blood-red twilight. The World of Darkness slips into a new age: that of a final, endless night.
[123] With the sun obscured, vampires walk the Earth with impunity, but are consumed in their hunger by the fire that was once human blood.
[124] The human race is dead now; their cities are graveyards, their works are ashes, their only clothing is that of the funerary shroud. Those who remain are left to destroy the proud creatures of the night in the fires that have consumed all mankind.

The Third PathEdit

[125] Even the author, Lucifer himself, is not sure if there is any hope for humanity beyond the naive hope that lies in ignorance, as presented in the first path, or the futile pursuit of destruction at any cost, as presented in the second path. In the stinging ash and smoke of the fire, in his ignorance and fear, Lucifer weeps (or, at least, so he claims).
[126] Regardless of its truth or possibility, Lucifer must present the third and most difficult path, even if it is unattainable, or else he damns himself.
[127] The other paths are easy choices: those of neglect of duty and of nihilistic despair. The third path is not one that is presented to humanity, but one that must be discovered and created through human ingenuity and perseverance, without relying on guidance from above or below. Whatever freedom lies in the future must be won, not given.
[128] The ruddy light of the Red Star will conceal the bloody mien of the vampires as they plead for humanity to accept their open rulership in exchange for eternal power.
[129] Humanity must resist the vampires' temptations and their commands. Their vulnerabilities are in the fire, the sun, and their hunger, which makes them dependent on mortals. They also have another weakness, one made by the angels and hidden for all time, which was laid on them by one of the three fallen angels who willingly walked into Hell, and is only now revealed under the light of the Red Star.
[130] If humanity resists or bests the vampires, the werewolves (and, presumably, the other Changing Breeds) will turn their eyes upon mankind. The shapechangers will assert that they alone hold both the right to rule and the ability to lift mankind out of the power of the Red Star's light.
[131] The shapechangers will demand that humanity surrender to a new Impergium so that Gaia might be cleansed of the damage done by mankind.
[132] Humanity must neither surrender nor openly resist; instead, they must bide their time and allow the fera to turn on themselves (possibly via a new War of Rage). The tribes and factions of the world's fera will be torn apart, with the fera ultimately falling into one of two tribes; these could plausibly be a unified Gaian "tribe" and a Wyrm-affiliated Black Spiral Dancer-styled "tribe". The ultimate fate of the shapechangers will be decided, for good or for ill, by the Perfect Metis.
[133] Humanity must turn the shapeshifters against one another without presenting themselves as a threat to the beasts' dominance. Eventually, the fera will begin to retire to the Umbra in the wake of the actions of the Perfect Metis; the remainder will be vulnerable to one another, or to humanity.
[134] As the shapeshifters' power wanes, the mages will reveal themselves, offering not only assistance against the monsters, but also presenting mortals with hidden knowledge. The "twin-souled" could instead refer to a number of other supernaturals, but the later stanzas in this section make it clear that the "twin-souled" are mages, whose souls are coupled with the Awakened Avatar, and not other beings with seemingly divided souls (such as wraiths with their Shadows, the Reborn mummies with their mortal and immortal souls, changelings with their mortal seeming and fae mien, or the Fallen with their mortal hosts).
[135] The Awakened ask for mortals' faith, that the Consensus might be reshaped and the world might be made better under their guidance.
[136] Unlike the vampires and werewolves, the mages are sincere in their requests and their stated intent. However, if humanity acquiesced to their needs, the Sleepers' hearts and souls would be stifled under their rule, either in a mystical sense (possibly through the alteration of the Consensus) or in a purely sociocultural sense.
[137] The only way to resist the mages is to cut them off from the faith and acolytes that they need to work their magic. By denying the mages and their works, humanity might actually consciously rewrite the Consensus in the process.
[138] Humanity must trust in their own faith and knowledge, not in that which is revealed to them by others, or else that faith and knowledge can be rendered false.
[139] As the mages' power fades, the Fallen will emerge, demanding worship like the vampires, fear like the shapeshifters, and faith like the mages. (The phrase "Not Born" suggests a kinship between the Fallen and the Neverborn.)
[140] Knowledge of how to truly defeat the Fallen is beyond even Lucifer, for the only way to defeat them is with that which lies outside of their domain; namely, that which was bestowed upon Man and Woman by God: free will, and the ability to imagine the unimagined, to attain the unattainable. Mankind must save itself, for there can be no further guidance from above or below.
[141] The last of the Fallen will be destroyed, cast back into the Abyss, or find some other form of existence; now, only one foe remains.
[142] The final threat is one that provides no easy means of surrender, no quick road to power. In the end, the final and greatest obstacle to mankind is no less than mankind itself.
[143] Even on this path, there may be no escape from the fire; the only escape may be to burn, and in burning, become one with the firelight.
[144] Humanity must turn away from the world of material things, of joy and sorrow, without regret.
[145] The last obstacle, the last test, is one of ultimate selflessness...
[146] ...humanity must give back to God the part of Herself that She first gave to them. In doing this, they will make both mankind and God whole again.
[147] Regardless of the outcome of this gift, regardless of whether or not the path burns in the end, regardless of whether mankind lives or dies, this is the ultimate outcome of the third path; this is the path of wisdom.

Time Catches Fire: Images by August BierceEdit

Several stanzas from the main book are given full-page illustrations here, with special emphasis paid to certain key words or phrases.

[12] Pictured: An angel, with human hands reaching up to it from out of frame. Emphasized: the line about angels demanding God's tribute to themselves, and the word "demons".
[23] Pictured: A skeletal figure in a black robe (which could be inferred to be Charon or a Ferryman). Emphasized: the line about the dead realm mocking that of the living.
[48] Pictured: A cloud of debris forming the shape of a human skull. Emphasized: The pair of lines about the fourth storm of shadows and memories.
[65] Pictured: A wolf, facing away. Emphasized: The line about a nation calling to arms.
[70] Pictured: Two men: one bald and baring fangs, the other clawed and dressed in stylized traditional Chinese attire. Emphasized: "Middle Empire" and "Dead".
[72] Pictured: A winged, blindfolded woman and a black dragon. Emphasized: The lines about the woman in scarlet and the beast of shadows, and the phrase "final nights".
[88] Pictured: A bearded man, raising a curved blade overhead. Emphasized: "Fire" and the line about the Great King of Blood walking without fear.
[101] Pictured: A bald man, screaming. Emphasized: "Shine bright".
[117] Pictured: A blindfolded man stabbing another humanoid figure in the throat with a spear; three insets depict a human skull, a masked man, and a blindfolded woman. No text is emphasized here (if only because there simply isn't enough room; this may be the longest stanza in the entire book).
[119] Pictured: A man wrestling with a snake. Emphasized: "The serpent eye".
[122] Pictured: An angel holding a staff or spear looking up at the sun or some similar light in the sky. Emphasized: None, again.
[128] Pictured: Five faces, most screaming or moaning, most of them fanged. Emphasized: "crimson-clad" and the triptych of pleading lines that begin "Feed us!"/"Love us!"/"Join us!"
[139] Pictured: A grotesque, alien creature with jutting ribs and a face vaguely resembling a plague-mask. Emphasized: "Not born."

The Miller DossierEdit

DirectorEdit

This section (as well as the REFINANCE NOW section, below) were originally encoded using a Grezst rolling cypher scheme. The decoded translations have been included here for you. Note that while capitalization has been added as appropriate, all spelling mistakes are intentional, as they were in the original document.

Babbit is acting very odd. I got a call from someone that I think is very Special Affairs. Maybe the person who stole the Latin fragment. Like you, he thinks Babbit has gone over, and he calls himself "The Throne of the Deepest Root". That, and other things he said, are references to old demonology texts — the kind of books no one finds on Amazon.com. Is he with you? I dont know who to believe. Babbit is acting odd. The man from stull is calling at hnne and he mentioned Vodantu. Is he with you?

REFINANCE NOW AND S.A.V.E!!!Edit

None of my contacts know anything about you, and no one had heard of this Deepest Root character. Did you try getting Babbit to the capitol?
be very careful, woodrow. both of us have seen terrible things working Special Affairs, but i think we just saw the coming attractions. Now the feature is playing.
I have believed in demons ever since I arrested Jane Inoue. Do you?
I dont know anything about 'Vodastu' and neither do my associatds but they believe Fhske is serving some entity called 'Vassago', also kmown as the Seer of Scorn. They dont speak his name out loud and they think Fhske wasnt his only servant. They sound crazy some times but Ive seen things I cant explain. We're trying to find Fiske and a dizmond necklace and two people — John Coaler and Leaf Pankowski. My associatds think those two are very important, that Vassago may be on the brink of taking them over, of consrolling humans directly. You know thatr possible. You saw it in Ohio.
Do you believe in demons?
M.

--

I got Babbit to the capitol and two days later he went on temporary administrative leave. Coincidence? Who can tell? I made contact with Madeline Mason. She is venq victory, as I suspected. But she had information about the books, solid stuff. She made a drop off in Barstow and I do not think I was followed.
I have spoken to the Deepest Root too, but I do not think I will again.
Imeres Pyros is starting to make too much sense and I do not like it. So much points to it being a hoax — for instance, the names "Yves Darra" and "Vera Sadry" are both anagrams for "adversary." If this is a hoax, it is the most insanely expensif, elaborate and intelligent hoax in history.
It almost makes more sense to believe the book is true.
Demons? I do not know. But believing in them is starting to make more sense too.

See alsoEdit

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