The Churning Storm is a mysterious entity that sought to control the world and cut it off from magiq. It was a major antagonist within the Briarverse and opposed the efforts of The Mountaineers and The Council of the 18 Gates to bring magiq back to the world.
According to Augernon, the Storm is “the other side of the forked road. I don’t know what they call themselves but they’ve been here for centuries. The shadow cast on the world. They wiped out the originals. Monarch’s Mountain.” They have antagonized truth seekers since before written history, having seemingly succeeded until modern times.
The Mountaineers were worried about the existence of the storm as early as Phase One. After Fragment Two, Ascender went to visit Augernon and learned of the Storm’s existence. He then went off to warn Mountaineers of “a machine [which] churns in the dark places of the world. Growing in size and power. An old machine that wants to separate us. Crush us.” Brandon Lachmann was the second person to warn Mountaineers, stating that “darker storms are coming for the books” in his farewell letter.
In Phase Three, the Mountaineers were again warned of the Storm by Aether, who said “there’s a storm coming,” in his first livestream. When Martin Rank went to visit Augernon at Go-Getters, Augernon warned him of the storm that had come for the '94 Mountaineers. Augernon also warned that the same thing would eventually happen to the current generation of Mountaineers.
The Mountaineers first encountered the Storm directly in Fragment Twelve, when it cut off Aether’s livestream. While in the process of assaulting Kemetic Solutions, it left a message mocking The Mountaineers and claiming it would soon destroy the Council of the 18 Gates and banish them to the Fray.
On the May 31st, 2017 livestream, the Storm attacked Kemetic Solutions, leaving a reversed audio message for the Mountaineers.
The dance has begun. We, the churning storm descend once more. As always, the Gates have moved to protect the worthless lives of their naive little mountain climbers. Ever lost, ever misinformed, reaching for a peak that you will never find. They care for you as they have never cared for previous manipulated acolytes. And in doing, they’ve made themselves vulnerable. They stretched their meager power too thin. Soon, what little power the Council still possesses will fade and they will disappear back into the Fray. Then one by one we will come for you and wipe you from our world like marks upon a looking glass. How could you have ever won? To defeat an enemy you must know them. The Gates will never win because they do not understand their enemy. We have no desire to abandon a world we control in completion. We were not learning how to open doors, we were learning how to close them. And in doing, break that precious book of yours, once and for all.
During Phase Four, the Mountaineers were able to connect to the past, where they learned what happened to the '94 Mountaineers after the Silver sent the Storm to destroy them. It was revealed that the Storm could travel through technology, like computers and telephones, capturing Mountaineers en masse if they were connected to each other. In addition, the Mountaineers who were captured by the Storm became stuck in a zombie-like state, their bodies having been taken over by the Storm. In Fragment Fifteen, when Martin Rank went to interview Theodore Fallon, he learned that the Silver was collecting adepts and feeding them to the Storm, which consumed their abilities as well. Nate Fallon was one of these adepts and, after he was consumed by the Storm, the Silver would tell him stories so that he would use his abilities of time displacement to recover magiqal artifacts. Teddy seemed remorseful of his work at Kemetic Solutions, stating that “they are so far beyond your comprehension, Martin. This world is theirs. You work alongside them or…[else].”
While the Mountaineers learned about the past encounters with the Storm, the Storm began to pursue Deirdre Green and Cole Sumner. In her blog post, “The Storm - Part Three,” Deirdre describes going to visit Grey Ackerly, whom she hadn’t seen in a few weeks. When she arrived, she realized that the Storm had followed her, since it found out she had been to Neithernor. She hid in Grey’s apartment, which contained a protective spell that was able to keep the Storm at bay. Panicking, Deirdre held onto her father’s walking stick and tried to think of a spell to ward off the Storm. The chronocompass crawled out of her bag in response, along with her father’s journal, which began flapping in the air. She realized the book was trying to send a message for help, so she opened up the window and it flew out towards Cole. In response, Cole went to Central Park and opened up a door to Neithernor just outside of the park, leaving it open to attract the attention of the Storm. Deirdre was able to escape, and the pair spent two days in the warren to make sure that the Storm was gone.
On The Day of Change, the Mountaineers attempted to use the Storm to bring the 1998 Book of Briars to the present, in exchange for The Little Red House. The Mountaineers were successful, and briefly commandeered the Storm, but the Silver soon realized what they were doing and killed Nate, the portion of the Storm they were speaking to. The Silver regained control of the Storm, but Deirdre was able to strike it down with the sword Gladitor from The Myth of Elainnor.