Tag Archives: anti-plague

30 Days of Character Development #7: Mokvar

[Periodically, a post will profile one of the blog’s many supporting players. (See the first profile for more details.) Feel free to chime in with recommendations for other characters you’d like to see more about.]

 


mokvar_profile1Name
: Mokvar

Occupation: Scribe; former advisor to the Warchief; former mercenary; currently between gigs, as it were.

Race: Orc

Class: Warlock (currently and formerly), shaman (formerly)

Age: 44

Group affiliations: Horde (former citizen, currently banished), Earthen Ring (former member), Veiled Blade (former member)

Known relatives: Drulla (mother, deceased), Vokmar (father, deceased), ex-wife (heretofore unnamed)

Earth Online notes: Founding member and officer of Garrosh’s guild <Warchief>; presumably demoted from officer status since falling out of good graces with Garrosh, though it’s currently unclear if he’s actually been demoted or gkicked. Main toon is Bartleby (class unknown); has at least one alt, LamontCranston (not a member of <Warchief> and unknown by most of the guild, possibly all but Spazzle).

First appearance: “Visiting Ashenvale” (first mention), “Underneath the bunker” (first transcript)


mokvarprofile2Key posts and plot points
:

  • Garrosh first mentioned Mokvar in the very early days of the blog, during an inspection trip to Ashenvale. After completing an aerial bombing run over Astralaan, the Warchief was most irate that Mokvar wasn’t able to adequately sketch him walking away from the resulting explosions; Garrosh ordered Mokvar back to Orgrimmar to train up inscription under pain of, well, pain. (Interestingly, the job of keeping visual records of some of Garrosh’s expolits would eventually fall to Gurtash in the form of his comics.)
  • Mokvar would return a few weeks later in “Underneath the bunker” to record the first of many transcripts of the Warchief’s dealings. (Also of note is that this transcript marked the first appearance of Dontrag and Utvoch.) From that point on, Mokvar would frequently accompany the Warchief in his adventures, recording Garrosh’s discussions with such luminaries as Tirion Fordring (“Where did all the words go?”), Mylune (not once but twice), Garona and Johnny Awesome (“Awesome job, Mokvar”).
  • Mokvar traveled back in time to old Hillsbrad with Garrosh, Liadrin, Faranell, and Utvoch in an attempt to trace the origin of a magic “anti-plague” that was devastating the Forsaken (The Anti-Plague of Southshore). While there, Faranell switched places with a past version of himself and inadvertently set off a series of events that would eventually cause massive disruptions to the timeline (Timequake). In the ensuing chaos, Mokvar was one of the only people to be aware of the changes that had occurred, and helped the Warchief reset history to its proper course.  To this day, Mokvar remains one of the only people – along with Garrosh, Liadrin, and Faranell – who remembers the events that transpired in the other timeline. (Okay, yes, Utvoch remembers, too…but would you really bet your next paycheck on him understanding any of it?)
  • Just before Garrosh left for Pandaria, Mokvar was attacked and killed under mysterious circumstances (“Death of the author”), though his death was made temporary by his ability to ankh as a shaman. This brush with death marked the beginning of the Mokvar saga that continues to this day; a detailed, post-by-post account can be found here, but here’s the semi-sorta-short version: In his mercenary days before coming to Orgrimmar, when he was a member of the Veiled Blade, Mokvar had acquired, then disposed of, a powerful warlock relic called the Nether Prism; now, years later, the Prism’s prior owner (the drakonid lord Valthalak) has sent spectral assassins after Mokvar in an effort to recover his prize. Mokvar reunited with old mercenary friend Deliana to try to recover the Prism, then launched into a run of suspicious, erratic behavior – traveling to Ironforge under diplomatic cover, then being charged with the murder of one of its citizens; turning for aid to Neeru Fireblade, then, even more damningly, Magatha Grimtotem; breaking out of Orgrimmar while under arrest, leading to his eventual banishment from the Horde.
  • mokvarprofile4After Mokvar disappeared from Orgrimmar, he remained off the grid for several months, save for elemental indications to fellow shaman Spazzle that he may have met his final demise. Ji Firepaw, however, wasn’t willing to give up hope for Mokvar’s survival (and rightly so – did anyone really think that I was not only going to kill off Mokvar, but do so off-screen? Really?), and continued investigating Mokvar’s whereabouts. Ji’s search eventually led him to Blackrock Spire, where Mokvar made his dramatic, fel-infused return in “The scouring of the Spire.”
  • True story: I originally introduced Mokvar not even as a real character, but as a plot device to justify inclusion of the transcripts. I realized early on that I wanted to include dialogue in the blog, but I didn’t feel like it would fit stylistically to have Garrosh writing it out as it would appear in a novel – one thing I try to maintain (with ranging degrees of success) is the appearance that Garrosh really is writing everything in the blog, as a blog, rather than a short-story-but-we’ll-call-it-a-blog-even-though-we-know-it’s-really-not-wink-wink. Mokvar as a scribe provided an excuse to include that extra material. Another true story: When I was first choosing Garrosh’s scribe, I pretty much went into Grommash Hold and semi-randomly picked someone who looked like he didn’t have much else to do. Who knew?
  • For the fashion/transmog-minded among you: Mokvar’s warlock attire is roughly based on the Tier 9 warlock set.
  • Mokvar’s Earth Online character, Bartleby, is a reference to the title character in Herman Melville’s short story “Bartleby the Scrivener.” (Scrivener = scribe!) Mokvar likewise references the story on a few occasions when he repeats Bartleby’s signature line, “I would prefer not to.”
  • For anyone who hasn’t pieced it together by this point: Mokvar’s close connection to Deliana is based on their parallel in-game roles. Pre-Cataclysm, Mokvar (in Orgrimmar) and Deliana (in Ironforge) were the questgivers who sent adventurers on the (very long and painful) quest chains to upgrade the old “Tier 0.5” dungeon sets. The two characters offered essentially the same quests, which provided the basis for much of the in-blog backstory about Lord Valthalak. (Valthalak’s spirit was the end boss for that quest chain, by the way, and for anyone who missed it during vanilla, fighting him at level was a NIGHTMARE.)

In his own words:

In there one event or happening you would like to erase from your past? Why?

My last job with the Veiled Blade, when we went into Blackrock Spire to collect Valthalak’s goodies. It turned out to be nothing but trouble, and cost most of us our lives – all of us, in fact, other than me and Deliana. (And strictly speaking, it cost me my life, too; it just didn’t stick. So, congratulations to Deliana for being the last one left standing. Was anyone running a pool?)

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor? Color? Song? Flower?

Tigule and Foror’s Lok’tar S’more-gar. Cerulean blue. The Lokvad’nod Broxigari. Any daisies I’m not pushing up.

Who do you trust?

After everything we’ve been through, I trust Deliana with my life. The same goes for Ji and Spazzle. I trust Thrall and Eitrigg implicitly, and I’ll probably always be grateful to Thrall for giving me a safe haven all those years ago. I trust Liadrin for her judgment, Saurfang for general badassery, and Garrosh…well, I trust Garrosh to be Garrosh.


mokvarprofile3How are you with technology? Super savvy, or way behind the times? Letters or email?

I’m no Spazzle, but I’m good enough with technology to get by. I’m not really what you would call tech literate in the broad sense, but I do okay with specific tasks on specific devices; once I learn how to do something, I’m usually fine, but then I don’t like to stray too far from what I know, even if something new and better comes along. I still prefer to write by hand, but I usually end up having to type things out – people are always complaining about my handwriting.

How do you react to temperature changes such as extreme heat and cold?

Heat doesn’t bother me at all. I hardly even notice it. Cold, on the other hand… spirits, I hate the cold. You could not have paid me enough money to go to Northrend.

Are you an early morning bird or a night owl?

Neither, really. I have pretty strange sleep habits: I usually tend to sleep for 2-3 hours at a time, scattered around random times in the day. It’s a holdover from my mercenary days, when we would often have to be on the move on short notice; I developed the ability to sneak in what sleep I could when I could, and it’s stayed with me. So now you’re equally likely to catch me awake at some odd hour in the middle of the night, or asleep in the middle of the day. It’s the main reason why I don’t like surprise visitors. That and the recent habit that surprise visitors have been getting into of trying to kill me.

What’s your preferred means of travel?

On wolfback. I like feeling my feet on the ground…or at least my wolf’s feet, indirectly. If I have to fly, I’d rather take a zeppelin or gunship. I’ve never gotten completely comfortable on a wyvern (although I still prefer them to bats or dragonhawks or…well, I don’t know how people manage to keep their balance on those carpets). I’ll fly on one if I need to, and I have lots of times – it just makes me uneasy while I’m up there.

If you could time travel, where would you go?

Don’t even joke about that.

Are you superstitious?

I definitely believe that there’s something out there that’s either looking out for me, or has it in for me. I’m still not sure which. Check back with me again another time. Unless I’m dead, in which case we probably have our answer.

What might your ideal romantic partner be?

Someone calm, grounded. Stable. Not prone to emotional swings or extreme highs and lows. Someone who’s figured themselves out, gotten comfortable with themselves, grown out of the drama and the need for everything to be a thrill ride.

If your life were a genre, what would it be?

Pretty definitely something in the action/adventure area, or at least a suspense thriller. Be careful what you wish for, I suppose. Sometimes I think I should have listened to my mother and been a banker instead. When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to go out into the world and have adventures. Thirty years of adventures later, I think I’ve had more than enough excitement. I’d love to be bored. I’d love to settle down comfortably in a quiet corner of Orgrimmar once we get to the other side of all this, and age into some old man who everyone considers pretty dull and uninteresting, except for every so often when he rattles off another one of his crazy stories — which most of the kids probably won’t believe really happened anyway. I think I’ll enjoy that.

 

Previous Profiles:

  1. Spazzle Fizzletrinket
  2. Ben-Lin Cloudstrider
  3. Dontrag and Utvoch
  4. Taktani
  5. Korrina
  6. Mylune
 

The Roshy Horror Picture Show

operahouse2

Barnes walks back offstage following his introduction, as the ghostly audience applauds.

BARNES: Go no now, they’re waiting for you!

GARROSH: Um, the FUCK you say?

MOKVAR: Do you mean we’re supposed to…?

BARNES: As I said, your tale sounds like an intriguing one…

FARANELL: Ugh, I always hated school plays…

GARROSH: Yeah, fine, but…

BARNES: And if you want my help with your Malchezaar problem, you’re just going to have to help me with tonight’s audience!

GARROSH: You can’t seriously—

BARNES: Now don’t worry, the magic of the Opera House will help you along as you go.

GARROSH: But we—

BARNES: Now go on! There they are now, entertain them!

GARROSH: Ugh. Fine.

Garrosh sighs and reluctantly trudges out on stage, followed by the rest of the group. The audience applauds their arrival.

GARONA: <scanning the applauding crowd> I could get used to this, actually…

MOKVAR: So, uh, what are we supposed to do?

GARROSH: Beats me…

BARNES: <echoing from offstage> Oh, all right, I can see you have a touch of stage fright, so I’ll help get you started…

Music begins to play as an enormous, disembodied spectral mouth appears at the back of the stage and slowly floats forward.

GARROSH: <jumping away from the mouth as it moves up> The FUCK?!

 

{DEMON HUNTERS TRIPLE FEATURE}

PROLOGUE (a.k.a. THE LIPS):

Some adventurers came; they were not seeking fame,
But our audience would rejoice.
They knew axes and runes, not so much spinning tunes,
But our magic here would give them a voice.

They came on a quest, ventured seeking to best
A demon that they call Malchezaar.
But their prey they can’t face, while he’s in Netherspace;
Why they seek him, well that’s quite bizarre.

Demon hunters triple feature:
Spectral patrons will fill the bleachers.
Here one night only: Hordies singing!
Improv performances, they’ll be winging.
Oh oh oh oh oh,
At the late night triple feature opera show.

It’s a perilous tale! Will our heroes prevail
As they journey the pathways of time?
At a dragon’s behest, everyone was impressed,
Though “Nozdormu” is a real bitch to rhyme.

But as they went along, something went wrong,
You’ll see, just wait for the surprise!
For they found themselves trapped as the worlds overlapped –
Watch it unfold now in front of your eyes!

Demon hunters triple feature:
Spectral patrons will fill the bleachers.
Here one night only: Hordies singing!
Improv performances, they’ll be winging.
Oh oh oh oh oh,
At the late night triple feature opera show.
The stars will glow,
Oh oh oh oh,
At the late night triple feature opera show.
An hour or so,
Oh oh oh oh,
At the late night triple feature opera show.
So here we go,
Oh oh oh oh,
At the late night triple feature opera show.

The ghostly mouth fades away. Garrosh and the others look back and forth awkwardly among themselves as the audience starts to murmur.

GARROSH: Yeah…so…

MOKVAR: What now?

BARNES: <offstage> You folks really aren’t used to performing, are you?

GARROSH: Yeah, how about I drop you into a battlefield with no prepping and see how YOU do, spooks.

BARNES: <sighs> Well, how did everything begin with this adventure of yours?

GARROSH: Well, Sylvanas reported this whole—

BARNES: Don’t tell me, tell them!

GARROSH: Oh. <turns to face the audience> Uh…yeah, so, Sylvanas came to me with this problem…

A ghostly likeness of Sylvanas Windrunner walks onstage and approaches Garrosh.

…and…well holy crap, look at that…

Music starts to swell again. Garrosh looks around in confusion.

SYLVANAS: Hail, Warchief!

GARROSH: Um…okay…

SYLVANAS: I’ve got something to ask…

GARROSH: Uh…yeah?

SYLVANAS:

…of your leadership, in which we bask.
But now, I fear, I must beg a task.

GARROSH: This is…kinda weird…

 

{OH GOSH, GARROSH}

SYLVANAS:

We need your help now, son of Grommash!

LIADRIN and MOKVAR: <together, flatly>

          (Garrosh.)

SYLVANAS:

You’re leading the Horde with such panache.
          (Garrosh.)
That Theramore thing, we’ll just whitewash.
          (Garrosh.)
So I need to tell you now,
Oh gosh, Garrosh,
We need you.

The problem we have I know you’ll squash.
          (Garrosh.)
Whoever’s behind it, you will quash.
          (Garrosh.)
If you pull this off, Aka’Magosh!
          (Garrosh.)
So I need to tell you now,
Oh gosh, Garrosh,
We need you.

There is something killing the Forsaken
In Southshore – details are still vague.
Something magic, if I’m not mistaken.
Oh, but don’t fret, we weren’t making plague.

Nope. No way. <glances around furtively>

GARROSH:

I asked for a contact; you said him.
          (Edwin.)
This Faranell guy, with the dead grin.
          (Edwin.)
Your Banshee Queen, she’s been beggin’.
          (Edwin.)
So let’s get to work now, Doc,
Come in, Edwin,
I’ll save you.

So, Edwin…

FARANELL:

Yeah? <looking disturbed to find himself singing> Oh gosh…

GARROSH:

Where to begin?

FARANELL:

Well…Garrosh…

GARROSH:

What to do?

One side of the stage fades into the likeness of old Southshore, while the other side takes on that of the Caverns of Time.

FARANELL:

We’re kind of screwed.
Here is what we’ve got to do…

We’ll travel in time – really, no josh –
          (Garrosh.)
To trace back this anti-plague death slosh.
          (Garrosh.)
Once it’s found, I’ll put the kibosh.
          (Garrosh.)
That covers it, I think, so
Oh gosh, Garrosh,
Time we flew.

Oh gosh, Garrosh…

GARROSH:

Edwin, no chin.

FARANELL:

Hey! Gosh, Garrosh.

GARROSH and FARANELL: <looking increasingly uneasy with all of this>

Wow, that blew.

GARONA: So, hold on, how did you all know to…you know…sing that?

GARROSH: I just kind of DID…

FARANELL: That was…weird…

BARNES: <offstage> As I said, the Opera House glamours will help you along — now keep it going, you’re on a roll!

GARROSH: My dad never had to do any shit like this to kill fucking Mannoroth…

MOKVAR: Okay, so next…

LIADRIN: <turning to the audience> The mission to save the Forsaken in the past was a success…

The scenery on one side of the stage morphs from the appearance of Southshore to that of Orgrimmar.

…but when we returned, we found that the past had been altered…

GARONA: <looking around> Oh wow, this is freaky…

Around them, Orgrimmar flickers between its normal appearance and one torn by battle, with demons and Scourge running about.

MOKVAR: You should have been there when it was actually happening.

GARROSH: Right, so at that point…

Music begins to resonate through the hall.

DONTRAG: Uh, I think it’s starting again…

FARANELL: Aren’t we lucky…

 

{TIME WARP}

GARROSH:

Noz has spoken
Time is broken,
All thanks to Faranell.
Now what’s left for me?

LIADRIN:

Ask Soridormi.

MOKVAR:

Timelines have gone to hell.

FARANELL:

I remember
Being in Southshore
Up till that moment when
The blackness consumed me…

GARROSH:

Now this future will doom me!

ALL:

Let’s do the time warp again!
Let’s do the time warp again!

FARANELL:

I took a turn to the left.

ALL:

It should have been to the right!

FARANELL:

Bad news, everyone!

ALL:

No Putricide in sight!
And now the surging Scourge
Invade us from Northrend.
Let’s do the time warp again!
Let’s do the time warp again!

LIADRIN:

It’s intriguing.

UTVOCH:

But mentally fatiguing…

LIADRIN:

With the demons blitzkrieging
We need a plan.

GARROSH: <rushing in with Focusing Iris in hand>

Hey now, get out of my way!
We’re gonna fix up the timeways.
Hit the old Hillsbrad highways,
Back where it all began.

FARANELL:

Now I’m feeling regretful…

MOKVAR:

Wait till you get forgetful:
Those gaps in memory now and then.

GARROSH:

I see demons invadin’!

LIADRIN:  <drawing the Ashbringer>

I got dibs on Kil’jaeden!

ALL:

Let’s do the time warp again!
Let’s do the time warp again!

FARANELL:

Well I was running down the street
Toward the Southshore inn,
Had to tag myselves “it”
Much to my chagrin.
She’d told me the plan
And she seemed strong and wise;
She had a blood elf’s shape
And a dragon’s eyes.
I pounced myself and I felt displaced –
Time convulsing, snapping back in place.

ALL:

Let’s do the time warp again!
Let’s do the time warp again!

FARANELL:

I took a turn to the left.

ALL:

It should have been to the right!

FARANELL:

Bad news, everyone!

ALL:

The Legion joins the fight!
The fall of Orgrimmar –
It wasn’t if, but when.
Let’s do the time warp again!
Let’s do the time warp again!

Let’s do the time warp again!
Let’s do the time warp again!

FARANELL:

I took a turn to the left.

ALL:

It should have been to the right!

FARANELL:

Bad news, everyone!

ALL:

There’s nothing here that’s right!
We’ve got to fix this mess,
So turn the years back ten.
Let’s do the time warp again!
Let’s do the time warp again!

Everyone collapses onto the floor for a moment as the lights dim, the surrounding scenery fades, and a dark curtain slides in close behind them. After a few seconds, they begin to rise to their feet.

DONTRAG: So wait, all that really happened?

UTVOCH: What have I been trying to tell you?

DONTRAG: Why don’t I remember any of it?

UTVOCH: Donty, the stuff you don’t remember we could just about crowbar into Razorwind Canyon.

GARROSH: Enough, you two!

LIADRIN: But, that pretty much covers everything important, doesn’t it?

A rhythmic bass line and drum beat can be heard in the background.

FARANELL: More or less.

GARONA: Why am I still hearing music, then?

GARROSH: Yeah, good question, shouldn’t it be show over at this point?

BARNES: <offstage> You’ll have to forgive me — while I was drawing on your memories for the show so far, well…there was just too much other great material to pass up!

MOKVAR: Oh no…

GARROSH: Oh crap, what have you people been remembering now?

A heavy guitar chord echoes through the hall as the dark curtain parts, and, from just behind Garrosh, Lor’themar Theron struts on stage, dressed in a full Black Mageweave set. (And no, not the male version.)

GARROSH: The FUCK?

 

{E-TRANSVESTITE}

LOR’THEMAR:

Greetings, orc-kind!
Hope you don’t mind
My dropping in for a call.
It’s always quite the same:
You forget my name –
I never once called you Thrall.

Don’t get freaked out
By the way I look;
Don’t rush to judgments too early.
I’m not much of a man
In the daytime sun,
But online I’m one popular girly.

I’m just an e-transvestite
From trade chat channel,
Playing Earth Online.

Could you show me around?
Maybe help get this mob down?
Think you could spare me a dollar?
Or is your interest waning
In more dungeon chaining?
If you change your mind, give me a holler.

GARROSH:

Um, listen, dude,
I don’t mean to be rude.
I don’t want you throwing a fit.
You do your thing, fine,
Just…do it online.
No one needs to look at that shit.

LOR’THEMAR:

So you don’t like the sight?
Well now, you just might
Have met, in your times epicurean,
One hot sexy avatar,
Says she’s from Astranaar –
That night elf’s real name might be Malfurion.

I’m just an e-transvestite
From trade chat channel,
Playing Earth Online.

Why don’t you free up your mind?
You won’t be maligned.
Just try to enjoy the eye candy.
I mean nothing malicious
In looking so delicious –
But trusting noobs really are handy.

I’m just an e-transvestite
From trade chat channel,
Playing Earth Online.

Hey! Hey!

I’m just an e-transvestite
From trade chat channel,
Playing Earth Online.

So, log on to play,
And look with dismay
At those female toons you’ve been observing.
But you’ve got those blinders
While in Dungeon Finder,
So I’ll dispel the veil…but not your perving!

As he delivers the last line, the curtain closes in front of him. The audience bursts into raucous applause.

GARROSH: Okay, what in the holy FUCK was THAT?

MOKVAR: Well, you did call him out for playing a female toon…

GARROSH: And also, THAT gets the ovation?

FARANELL: Personally, I thought my bridge was pretty good.

GARROSH: And a whole lot less discomforting…

Barnes walks out on stage with them.

BARNES: A hand for our performers, ladies and gentlemen!

The audience applauds more.

GARROSH: Okay, so we’re good now, right, spooks? Ready to set us up with this mystery in of yours?

BARNES: All in good time, sir.

GARROSH: Wait, what the fuck is THAT supposed to mean?

BARNES: <grinning> Well as I said, sir, while I was casting the glamours, I took the liberty of poking around in some of your memories…and I’m afraid you all have far too much wonderful story material for me not to avail myself of the opportunity.

GARROSH: Um…WHAT?

BARNES: And we do still have another show to tend to after the intermission. You and your friends are welcome, of course, to take the opportunity to rest and refresh yourselves…

GARROSH: Intermission? What intermission?

BARNES: This one, sir. We’ll resume with a new tale soon.

The curtain closes to mounting applause.

 

Special delivery from Southshore

faranell

I’ve got two pieces of news fresh from Cromush in Southshore, one on the state of the anti-plague and reliquary, and the other…well, it’s complicated.

The simple part first.  Cromush reports that our people in Southshore have finished deploying our counter to the anti-plague magic…which is sort of a counter in itself…is there a special term for a counter-counter? I feel like there kinda should be. Anyway, from what they can tell, the effect has dissipated, and once they make one last sweep or two of the area to be safe, Helcular and his Forsaken peeps should be good to move back in from Tarren Mill.

Cromush also sent a few of his scouts to search the cellar of the Southshore inn, and they successfully recovered the reliquary that Isilien and Doan had planted there a decade ago. By all appearances, the holy magic that was bottled up inside has been dispelled, although the crystal fragment inside is still intact, and apparently not entirely spent. Like I think I mentioned before, I’ll probably let Liadrin hold it for safekeeping, once we get it safely out of Forsaken territory.

That’s not the complicated part, though. Cromush’s scouts returned with one other tidbit: while they were digging around in the cellar, they also found a small wooden box lodged into the stonework near the reliquary. Inside were three sealed letters – one addressed to me, one to Sylvanas, and one to Faranell. By all indications, the box had been there, undisturbed, for about as long as the reliquary, and the oddity of all this gets a little worse – or maybe better? – when you know who the three letters are from.

Faranell.

Here’s mine:

 

Hello Garrosh,

From my point of view, I only just saw you last a few hours ago, but by the time you see this note, I imagine quite a long time will have passed. As you no doubt already know, I’ve written similar letters to the Dark Lady and, well, to myself. Or rather, to the version of myself who is with you now.

So, about him.

I imagine you’ve probably already come to suspect this, but I’ll confirm it for you now: the version of me that you’ve brought with you to the future isn’t the one who traveled with you to the past. Who you have with you now is the past, younger me. The human me. This did not, however, happen as a result of any mistakes or carelessness. It was my doing. I orchestrated the events leading to your bringing him with you. I’d started planning to do so midway through our journey.

It really wasn’t difficult to manage. After finishing his work with Doan, my brother told me that with Kel’Thuzad hovering about, Doan had grown paranoid (even for Doan) about someone interfering with the reliquary; he’d placed a warding spell on the canister that would stun anyone who tampered with it, knocking them out for hours or even days. I realized that this could provide me the window I needed to do what I’d been contemplating for the previous few days.

When I left the inn the next morning, I found the child Herod playing with the frog he’d taken from Taelan. Which is to say, of course, my younger self, whom Mokvar had hexed.  A quick polymorph spell took Herod out of the equation; at that point I needed only break the hex on my younger copy, pop invisibility quickly, and get away from the inn. From a distance I watched myself go back inside.

When the other me returned to his room (since, naturally, where else would he go?), he would find a letter I’d left for him, along with the chameleon shard. In the letter, I “explained” that I – that is, he – had learned that an inexplicably unhinged Kel’Thuzad, suddenly obsessed with Mograine and the rest, had planted a magic explosive in the inn’s cellar; that if detonated, it would kill anyone in the inn or nearby; that I had volunteered to have my most recent memories erased to prevent any mind-reading to reveal to Kel’Thuzad that I’d revealed his plans. That the crystal I’d left there for myself, used as directed, could deactivate the explosive before it was set off. There was more to it, further details to ensure the story would ring true, but I doubt I need to belabor it with you; if anything, I suspect the letters “TL” and “DR” are already dancing around the edges of your thoughts. Suffice to say, remembering that I had already begun to grow wary of Kel’Thuzad by this point in my life, I knew which buttons to press to convince myself.

And so I sent my past self on his way to the cellar to unknowingly attune the shard and be rendered unconscious by Doan’s warding spell. And before you ask why my younger self would trust this story left for him in a letter, much less follow its instructions, let me pose this to you: faced with gaps in your memory and uncertainty over whom to trust, how many sources would you trust above your own handwriting? I know myself, and I knew I would take the bait.

I can’t say I’ve never lied to myself, but I don’t think I’d ever done it quite so literally.

And here’s where you’re asking why I would go to all this trouble. Or, maybe you don’t need to. In the end, it’s really fairly simple. Since dying to the Scourge and reawakening in undeath, I had never given much thought to the life I had lost. I accepted my new existence fairly readily. I didn’t have particular occasion to look back at the old life I’d lost until we traveled to old Hillsbrad, and at that point, I wasn’t merely looking back on that life. I was actually living it again.

I never really missed being alive until I was reminded of what it’s like.

I want it back.

I’m far from greedy or ambitious, and my wants, in tangible terms, are simple ones. I want to look in the mirror and see my own face. I want to feel sunlight on my skin without it burning. I want to taste food again. I want to smell that food cooking and feel my mouth watering without my jaw hanging off one hinge. I want to smell baking bread and freshly cut grass.

I know that’s not in the cards for me, in the long run. I’m not naïve about the necessities of time, and I know I can’t cheat fate. My being here represents a reprieve, a brief window to literally smell roses I didn’t bother smelling while oblivious to time running out for me. Now I know I’m living on borrowed time, and I can soak it in while I can, but I understand that that’s all it is. I can’t live out my human life that might have been.

That is, this me can’t. But the one you brought with you to the future can.

And that was the real point of it all. To save myself, probably in the most indirect way imaginable.

I’ve thought through the logistics, and everything should line up. You and the others came to the past with a version of Edwin Faranell. You’ve brought one back with you. One was already here, and one continues to be here. The scales are still balanced. I still remember everything I was supposed to have done, all the events that need to happen, and I can make sure they still unfold the way they always did. I realize this raises all sort of questions along the lines of “How can I remember the events I did in the past, if my past self no longer did them?”, but from the conversations we’ve had with Nozdormu, I’m fairly sure that will simply be one of those oddities of time rewriting itself.

Meanwhile, I know that I can’t make major changes to history, or try to stop Arthas, or anything of the sort; while I won’t pretend it won’t pain me to watch some of those events happen again, I can at least take comfort in the knowledge, for instance, that the Lich King will be stopped, so history doesn’t need me to try to.

And then, soon enough, I’ll come to the end that was fated for me. History says that a human named Edwin Faranell died in Lordaeron and was risen into undeath; a human named Edwin Faranell will. As Liadrin pointed out, as long as I’m here, I literally am human again. I can die as I was meant to, continue playing my part among the Forsaken, and, when the time comes, be there again to travel back with you to Southshore.

I’ll become the closed loop, holding my own place in history, while the other, younger me will be free to live – live – his days in a wide-open future.

In the letter I will have written for him, I will explain all of this, and lay out the basic facts he will need to know about this new world. I’m sure he will be frightened by it, and rightly so. I would only ask, Garrosh, that you look out for him early on. While I have great admiration for Lady Sylvanas in a great many ways, I suspect she will be none too pleased with this turn of events, and she may not be above taking steps that would, let us say, undermine what I have sought to do here. I suspect, though, that you will understand why I’ve done this, and may even sympathize; I would only ask you not allow it to be for nothing.

I do not expect that I will see you again. Live well, Warchief. I hope I will do the same.

–Dr. Edwin Faranell
Once and future Master of the Royal Apothecary Society

 

Not going to lie. I don’t even really know how to respond to that.

I’m not exactly thrilled about this, for a whole bunch of reasons, but at the same time, Faranell got the job done, end to end, both when we were in Hillsbrad and before. And as twitchy as this whole switcheroo makes me, on all kinds of levels, as far as I can tell it’s not like he’s setting out to screw with the timeline or mess something up or whatever. And I have to give it to him, he’s one of the few people around this dump who’s got the brains to pull off something like this AND go forward with it without causing some kind of stupidity-fueled collateral damage. Plus, he’s just a good dude. Or was. Or, well…will be.

Faranell was right — Sylvanas was less than thrilled when she got her letter. She right off started talking about how it would be easy enough to “correct” Faranell’s condition. I didn’t like the sound of that at all, so I’ve charged Liadrin with guarding him, and had Bragor Bloodfist divert a few of his Kor’kron up to Brill to help make sure nothing fishy happens. Because here’s the thing. For all intents and purposes, for the Faranell we knew, this was a last request. And last requests that don’t bring harm to anyone, where the only thing at stake is the person making the request? They should be honored.

I think I have an idea of how. Stay tuned.

 

I see undead people

brill

Faranell regained consciousness this morning.

That’s where the good news ended.

Apothecary Zinge – one of Faranell’s colleagues down at the Apothecarium – was trying some sort of salve that they thought might help him recover. Liadrin tells me all the Undercity apothecaries have been taking turns going up to Brill to tend to him, even beyond the rotation Sylvanas had set up to have him monitored. I suppose for all their shortcomings, you have to give it to the Forsaken for looking out for their own. Anyway, either the salve worked, or whatever was wrong with Faranell finally ran its course, because while Zinge was there, he came around.

And looked around.

And started screaming in terror.

Zinge tried to calm him down, and so did Nurse Neela and Dark Cleric Beryl, but he wouldn’t hear any of it. It was only when Liadrin came in that they were able to calm him down at all, and even then only after the others left him and Liadrin alone. He kept asking where he was, and no matter how many times she told him he was in Brill, his only response was that it couldn’t be.

Eventually, Liadrin got him calmed down enough to talk a little. She says she tried to be fairly selective about what she said to him, but from what she can gather…he doesn’t remember anything. At least, nothing about the here and now. Nothing about our mission in old Hillsbrad. Nothing about the anti-plague or the plague or even the Scourge. To listen to him, Brill is still part of the human kingdom of Lordaeron, and every attempt Liadrin made to gently reference anything that’s happened in the last several years has drawn nothing but blank looks.

Which is to say…the last thing he DOES seem to remember is being in Southshore with his brother. And that leaves us with two possibilities, neither of them good.

The first is that there’s something seriously, profoundly wrong with Faranell’s memory. Nozdormu said there was something going wonky with time somewhere around the point we were in Southshore, and Faranell WAS having some pretty conspicuous issues with forgetting things while we were there, despite him saying he’d always had some sort of super-memory. It’s not that great a stretch to think something went wrong in his head, maybe from coming too close to crossing his own timeline, maybe from something involving the holy-magic-splodey mojo. Maybe something else. I don’t know.

You’ve probably already done the math on what the other possibility is. And as much as I don’t relish the thought of one of our sharper people maybe taking a mind-wipe, I honestly think I might prefer that to option number two. Because if that’s the case…hoo boy. And you know what? I don’t even want to talk about that possibility. Not yet. Not until I can start wrapping my head around what the hell we’re going to do in that case.

Before I start in on that, though, if you’ll excuse me, I think I need a drink. Or ten.

Also: FUCKING TIME TRAVEL.

 

 

[Header image provided by Rioriel from Postcards From Azeroth, reproduced here with permission and many thanks. Click here to see the souped-up Postcard version!]

 

So far, so good

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Quick update from Southshore – Helcular and his people at Tarren Mill have gotten the chameleon shard that we attuned in old Southshore, and after a couple days of experimenting, they think they’ve come up with a way to dispel the anti-plague effect. Not a moment too soon, too, since those purple ribbony haze lines were creeping further and further out from the town, and had almost reached the Forsaken operation over at the Sludge Fields.

Obviously, Helcular didn’t want to chance sending his own undead people down to Southshore to test out the final product, so Cromush had a small detachment of warlocks and mages from Orgrimmar head down to start applying the fix. I’m not too clear of the details of it, seeing as most of that hocus-pocus stuff is pretty much just gibberish to me.

Bottom line, though, is they started doing their thing yesterday, and the early reports are that it seems to be working. I’m told that the locks and mages are going to have to follow the haze lines out from the town and do some more casting in order to completely purge the anti-plague effect. But from the sound of it, the town itself is mostly secured now, so it looks like we’re on our way to getting everything back to normal. Or, you know, what passes for normal with those Forsaken.

While Cromush has his people in Southshore – and before Helcular gives the go-ahead for the Forsaken to head back in – I’m having him send one or two of his top people to scour the cellar of the old inn. One, to make sure they’ve completely locked this thing down at its source, but two, to locate and secure the reliquary buried there that started it all. I don’t want any extra surprises from that thing…not to mention, considering its likely source, I don’t want it floating around unaccounted for. Once we have the crystal fragment, I may have Liadrin take custody of it, seeing as she seems to know a lot about it, and has her head on straight, and, you know, actually has a brain INSIDE the head she has on straight. Unlike very many of my underlings (he said with a great sadness).

More soon.

 

Back to the future, part 2

cavernsoftime3

Okay, looks like the blog is FINALLY caught up with the here and now, and, gotta say, it was fucking TORTURE watching those last few posts dribble on through. I would say that The Noz has to do something about the lag in his wireless network, but then again, considering I was able to get a why-fly connection from frigging ten years ago, I guess I really shouldn’t complain.

Also, watching the posts loading gradually like they were, and reading them myself, eventually I started getting this weird detachment, like I was reading something that someone ELSE had written, not events I had lived through myself. I was starting to get strangely invested – like when you re-read a book, and you find yourself rooting for things to happen one way or another even though you already KNOW what’s going to happen, you know? Which, by the way, is EXACTLY WHAT TIME TRAVEL IS LIKE.

So anyway, now I can finally start updating you guys, because hoo boy, have things been interesting since we’ve been back. Like, starting from the MINUTE we got back to our own time. Because check this out – when we took Erozion’s portal back to the Caverns of Time, we all reset back to our normal, non-human selves, right? Except…Faranell didn’t. We arrived back in our own time and place…and he still looked human.

Obviously, this was made that much more complicated by the fact that he was still unconscious – there’s a limit to how much poking and prodding anyone could do while he was out cold from a shock to the system that we still didn’t understand very well. What’s more…he’s STILL that way. Not just the human-looking thing, but the unconsciousness. He still hasn’t come around. We had him transported back to the Undercity, and Sylvanas has put her best people in charge of looking over him. After the first couple days passed with no sign of change, she moved him up to Brill, the idea being that maybe the atmosphere up above ground might be a little better for his human constitution. On top of Sylvanas’ people, Liadrin’s volunteered to stay on for a while to help take care of him. Right now, though, that’s mostly consisting of a whole lot of waiting.

Nobody really knows what to make of what’s happened. We’ve got lots of theories, but until he comes around, he’s not going to be in stable enough condition for us to do a lot of testing on him. The best we’ve come up with so far – this was Liadrin’s best guess – is that the holy magic from the bomb might have produced the anti-plague effect on Faranell and purged him of the necro-whatsis magic that’s the source of his undeath. The same as it had been doing to the Forsaken around Southshore, only in his case, since strictly speaking he was human at the time rather than undead, it didn’t kill him. At least that’s the working theory right now. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, we’ve sent the chameleon shard along to Helcular and Cromush in Tarren Mill. With any luck, they’ll be able to use it to work out a way to dispel the anti-plague effect and get things under control out there. They’ve been at it for a few days now, so one way or another I’m expecting some news soon. Updates as they come.

 

Set us up the bomb

southshorecellar

So the good news is that we’re about to head home, and not a moment too soon. The bad news is we’re not all coming back on our feet.

Let me back up.

Like I said at the end of the last post, I could hear a commotion next door, so I went over to check on what was going on. Mokvar and Utvoch were in a low-grade panic. Liadrin had just joined them and was trying to calm them down, but she was pretty obviously worried too. Here’s the bottom line – at some point in the last hour or so, Mokvar found a note from Faranell slipped under the door:

Just came from talking to KT. Tried to play dumb about Doan et al, but he still seems suspicious. Too much at stake to leave to chance. Keeping shard with me for safekeeping and taking steps. Luck to all. –EF

I’d put Edwin in charge of holding the chameleon shard since we got it back, seeing as he was our main magic guy and a lot less likely to utvoch things up. I wasn’t expecting him to go all loose cannon on us, but I guess we weren’t there to hear what KT was going on about. Faranell must have figured he had to act fast.

In any case, that meant we had to get on the move pronto too. I had us split up – Mokvar and Liadrin searching in and around the inn, Utvoch getting our crap packed up in case we need to make a quick exit. As for me, I headed out to make a sweep around the rest of the town.

I ran out of the inn in a rush, and damn near broke my neck tripping over – of all things – a random sheep that was wandering around in the road right outside. Because on top of everything else I love about humans, they’re also frigging spectacular at keeping their damn livestock under control. I would have had half a mind to herd the little fucker into the inn just to freak Kelly out a little more, if I hadn’t been in such a hurry.

Anyway, after I finished my involuntary sheep-induced forward somersault, I made a quick lap around town. By this point, the Silver Hand people had already left Southshore – Tirion, predictably enough, being the last one to go, since he just couldn’t drag himself away before he’d yapped Kelly’s ear off one last time – and as I made my pat around, I spotted Kel’Thuzad lurking around on horseback near the edge of the woods to the north. Looked like he was just watching the road out of town…maybe looking to see if the Silver Hands were leaving, maybe on his way out himself…who knows. From what I could make out, he looked to be in a pretty sour mood, but then again, he’s Kel’Thuzad, so not exactly stop-the-presses news there. I finished circling the town – no sign of Faranell. I ran back to the inn to check on things.

Mokvar was waiting for me when I came back inside. He looked worried as hell, and all he said before rushing off to the back of the inn was to follow him and hurry. Always a good sign, right? We ran past the bar into the kitchen, and the thought had just crossed my mind that you wouldn’t think Kelly would let us just have the run of the place like this, when I noticed a frog hopping around on the counter. In times of crisis, Mokvar strikes.

Mokvar led the way into the kitchen, then to the stairs leading down to the cellar. Jessen the cook was there, and started making a stink of “what are you people doing” and “what’s the meaning of this” and blah blah blah, and you know what? Fuck it. Page out of the Thrall playbook: Hey, Jessen, what did the five fingers say to the face? SLAP, drop, that’s enough out of him. Moving on.

Liadrin was downstairs. She was kneeling over Faranell – who was sprawled out on the floor unconscious. She’d found him there a short time before, out cold, the chameleon shard on the ground by his hand, charged and attuned. Nearby, along the wall, a few large stone blocks had been pried out of place, and the a-p bomb thingy was lodged into the opening, pressed up into the exposed earth. Humming away with a dull yellow glow.

Damn stupid Faranell must have thought Kel’Thuzad was on the move and rushed down here to get read on the bomb before KT had a chance to screw with it, even knowing the damn thing was charged and primed to put him on his ass if he got close to it. Not to mention the fact that the shard takes a few minutes to attune itself – so the dude had to have stood there, eating the burn and hanging on somehow, just to make sure the mission got done. I’ve got to give these Forsaken credit. They may be missing some internal organs, but they sure as hell aren’t short on guts.

At this point, we’ve gotten what we came for, and with Faranell down for spirits-knows how long, I’m not inclined to hang around waiting for something ELSE to go wrong. We’re getting out of Southshore and making a bee line for our rendezvous point with Nozdormu’s boy Erozion so he can get us back home.

Liadrin and Mokvar have both tossed a few heals on Edwin to keep him stable for the trip, but they’re reluctant to do too much right now without knowing just how he’s been affected. Once we get back to our own time, we can get him patched up. I hope.

We’re about to head out now. Everything’s packed, Utvoch is set to carry our out-cold zombie friend for the trip, and we’ve covered our tracks at the inn as best we could. The next time I write here, it’ll be from the future. I mean the present. Whatever. FUCKING TIME TRAVEL.

Fingers crossed. I’ll see you in ten years.

 

Good news, everyone

southshore4

We’re in business. Things are in motion, and one way or another, either we pull this off pretty soon, or we’re going home to some big problems.

After we did the ol’ switcheroo with Faranell – I guess I should start getting into the habit of calling him Edwin, but it just feels weird – I tried to keep an eye out for Tirion’s kid, but no luck there. Since Mokvar wasn’t going to be coming to the meeting with Isilien and Doan, I put him on lookout, with some help from Utvoch…that is, lookout help that still keeps him out of a position where he could really fuck something up, because seriously, enough is enough with that shit.

Faranell stepped out for a little while this afternoon to go see Kel’Thuzad – KT on his own this time, without Helcular in tow. He came back with some less-than-great news: KT has been noticing the Silver Hand people hanging around town, and is starting to wonder what they’re up to. Considering KT’s interest in necromancy, you can see how a bunch of paladins might perk him up some, especially with rumors flying around about the undead. If only he knew, right? Well, that’s sort of the point – I mean, things going on that KT doesn’t know. He basically was trying to find out if Edwin knows anything, especially considering his brother’s been spending some time up close and personal with the paladins. Edwin downplayed knowing anything, but Kel’Thuzad pressed him to keep an eye out and see if he could find anything out from his brother.

Besides the fact that this gives us one more wrinkle to worry about – which we’re going to have to keep worrying about until the Silver Hands get out of town so KT won’t have them putting ideas in his head – it’s also bringing us back to the problem Faranell’s brought up already: the fact that he doesn’t remember this business with Kel’Thuzad at all. I was already kind of worried about the whole time-distortion thing with Mokvar’s plan to hex Faranell v1.0 – I mean, how is our Faranell supposed to remember what originally happened here, when we take his past self out of commission so he won’t have lived those events to remember them, right? And plus, wouldn’t he at least remember, you know, being turned into a damn frog? But Liadrin insisted that it should work what with the way revised time works, with ripples from the changes not reaching out to us until the events play themselves out, or some kind of shit like that, and she seems to know what she’s talking about with this time crap, which she actually seems really interested in for who knows what reason, so whatever, I figured I’d trust her on that much. But now we seem to be getting more and more little pieces not meshing with the way Edwin remembers things, and that’s got me majorly worried.

Witness the latest little piece that seems to be playing out differently: turns out, when they were talking at some point, Isilien invited Patrick to come to our little meeting of the minds as well. On the one hand because he figured he could use all the brain power on this project he could find, and plus, apparently dude likes lighting a fire under Doan by bringing in second opinions from other magic users. Because, you know, if there’s one thing that’s a formula for success with these future Scarlet Crusade people, it’s encouraging their insecurity and paranoia. Yeah.

Anyway, though, Patrick came with us to see Isilien. We just got back a short time ago – well, most of us did – and luckily, Edwin and his on-again off-again super-memory was able to help Liadrin get the record assembled fairly quickly:

 

Isilien greets Garrosh, Liadrin, Edwin, and Patrick through a half-opened door and ushers them into the room quickly.

ISILIEN: Hurry in. I don’t want anyone to notice us.

GARROSH: Check.

LIADRIN: Have you seen anything to make you think someone knows we’re doing something?

ISILIEN: I just don’t want to take any chances.

DOAN: Bad enough as it is that this many people are aware of our plans…

EDWIN: Nice to meet you, too.

LIADRIN: Gentlemen, this is Edwin Faranell; I believe you already know his brother Patrick…

ISILIEN: <nods> Edwin.

DOAN: Do any of you have any cousins you’d like to bring along while we’re at it?

ISILIEN: Doan, that’s enough.

GARROSH: Hey, you know, if you’d rather not have our help…

DOAN: As a matter of fact—

ISILIENDoan. Lia is a sister of the Light, and we will show her friends the same courtesy we would any ally. Or do you think a paladin of our own order would be turned against us in favor of the undead?

DOAN: Fine. Let’s just get this done.

LIADRIN: Have you had any progress in your study of the crystal?

ISILIEN: Yes and no. I’m still certain it could be harnessed to repel undead attackers, but it’s a matter of how.

DOAN: Especially without the crystal being available to us directly for long.

ISILIEN: <nods> Alexandros is right to want the crystal forged into a weapon – that singular object would be a devastating force on the front lines when the undead inevitably come. But it also limits our options here.

LIADRIN: Isilien, would it be possible for me to examine it more closely myself?

ISILIEN: <nods> Briefly.

Isilien sets Mograine’s chest out on the table and opens it. The light crystal floats up from the chest and hovers over it, rotating slowly. Liadrin steps up close, with Edwin and Patrick following close behind her.

PATRICK: Heavens…

ISILIEN: The crystal’s energy is…curious.

EDWIN: How so?

DOAN: For one, it doesn’t resemble any kind of enchantment I’ve ever seen. I haven’t an idea of how the crystal could have been imbued with this much power in the first place.

GARROSH: Didn’t you imbue it yourself? Pouring all your holy spells into it?

ISILIEN: That triggered its transformation from its dark form, but no, it’s not as simple as us filling it with our magic. The power contained in the crystal is far beyond what we cast on it.

EDWIN: You mean the shadow and light forms of the crystal are just different manifestations of the same energy, that it already had?

LIADRIN: More that the crystal absorbed and generated holy energy…whatever was cast on it was taken in and magnified.

ISILIEN: Exactly…it’s as if it were a generator of sorts for that energy.

Liadrin steps closer as they continue to talk, and holds her palm toward the crystal. The crystal glows a bit more brightly, floats toward her, and rests against her hand; she gingerly holds it as the light pulses softly.

PATRICK: So it’s a power amplifier, in a sense? Potentially unlimited? Is that the curious part?

ISILIEN: Partly.

DOAN: But it also…it still seems to be carrying traces of shadow magic in it.

EDWIN: <leaning in closer> Remnants of its dark state?

DOAN: Possibly. Or not even traces, per se, so much as…well…responsiveness to shadow magic. As if it recognizes its presence and is drawn to it.

LIADRIN: Just as it was drawn to the light when it was in its darkened state.

DOAN: If it were a living thing and not a crystal, I would be tempted to say the shadow traces were more traces of memory.

ISILIEN: Crystal or not, it seems to…like you, Lia…

The crystal continues pulsing and emitting a soft hum.

LIADRIN: It does seem to…

The crystal glows more brightly, flashing more rapidly, then emits a sudden bright flash. Liadrin, startled, recoils and drops the crystal, which falls against the edge of the table. A small fragment of the crystal breaks off and bounces against Edwin’s arm; he lets out a pained shout and collapses to the ground, unconscious.

PATRICK: Edwin!

Patrick kneels quickly to check on his brother while Liadrin rubs her head and steadies herself again. The crystal returns to its normal glow and resumes hovering over the table again.

GARROSH: Is he okay?

PATRICK: He’s unconscious, but breathing.

GARROSH: What happened, anyway?

DOAN: I haven’t a clue. The crystal hasn’t reacted to anything like that before.

LIADRIN: <still rubbing forehead> I think that was me.

GARROSH: Patrick, help me get him onto the bed till he comes to.

ISILIEN: What did you do, Lia?

Garrosh and Patrick pick Edwin up and stretch him out on the bed nearby. Garrosh returns to the others while Patrick sits on the bed.

LIADRIN: I thought I could use some holy magic to get a better read on it…sort of a poor man’s Mind Vision, I suppose. I must have…startled it, for lack of a better word.

ISILIEN: That would account for the light surge. I’m not sure why that fragment would have harmed your friend, though.

Doan carefully picks the fragment up from the floor. It gives off a dull glow in his hand.

DOAN: Either way, it may have given us a possible way around our limited access to the crystal…

ISILIEN: Assuming this one has the same properties.

LIADRIN: Only one way to find out.

Liadrin casts Flash of Light on the crystal, which pulses a bit more brightly. Isilien casts on it as well, causing another increase in its brightness. Doan stares curiously at the fragment shimmering in his hand.

ISILIEN: So far, so good.

DOAN: It’s…very soothing. How did it feel when you were holding the crystal, Lia?

LIADRIN: <hesitates> Much the same.

PATRICK: Good news, everyone. I think Edwin is coming to.

GARROSH: What happened to him?

DOAN: I don’t know why a surge of holy magic would have been harmful.

EDWIN: I think I… How long was I out?

PATRICK: Just a few minutes.

EDWIN: <sighs and rubs his head> Just a second…

GARROSH: Maybe, I don’t know, just a random blast from when it cracked…

DOAN: It only hurt him when the fragment actually touched him, though.

EDWIN: Okay, so…

PATRICK: Don’t strain yourself if you’re still groggy.

EDWIN: No, I’m fine. So…I think that surge might have gotten me because I’d been spending a lot of time around Kel’Thuzad the last few days…

ISILIEN: What would Kel’Thuzad have to do with it?

EDWIN: <rubbing his eyes> He’s been experimenting with necromancy.

DOAN: I’d heard humors about that. Very troubling…

EDWIN: He was showing me and Helcular some of the magics he’s been working with. I think it might have left some residual necrotic magic around me that the light there may have homed in on…

GARROSH: Seems like that would make sense.

EDWIN: Yeah, so… <tries to sit up, then groans>

PATRICK: Don’t, you’re still shaky. Just lay back and rest while we work.

ISILIEN: If that’s the case with the fragment, though, that could be our way to use it.

EDWIN: <aside to Patrick> I’m fine, I’ll stay and rest. You go help them.

LIADRIN: What do you have in mind?

ISILIEN: Considering what we saw happen with the dark and light forms of the crystal, it makes sense to suppose this object thrives on a sort of dark/light duality. When dark, it seeks and absorbs holy magic in order to assume its light form. And while light, it’s drawn to shadow magic, in this case to more harmful effect.

GARROSH: You know, I think I know where you’re going with this.

Patrick returns to the others.

ISILIEN: Released in the presence of a more potent – almost living, even – source of shadow magic, I think we could set it up to respond with much greater force. Destroying, or possibly purging the magic it finds.

LIADRIN: In other words…expose undead to this and the light will target them, then either destroy them outright or dispel the undeath that’s reanimated them?

ISILIEN: I think so, yes.

DOAN: It should be workable. We just need to charge it with more holy energy and come up with a way to keep it contained until we would need to deployed to repel the undead.

PATRICK: I think I can be of some help with that.

Patrick starts rifling through a box of assorted junk and magic items he’d brought with him.

GARROSH: I was wondering what all that crap was.

PATRICK: Oh, just some odds and ends I thought might be— Wait, what’s this? <looking over what looks like a crystalline turtle> Probably not important. It’ll come to me later. <tosses it aside> Where was I? Oh, that’s right. Some assorted things I though might come in handy. <pulls out an ornate rod> Huh…enchanting rod…funny I’d have that seeing as I’m not an enchanter.

GARROSH: So how much stuff do you have in there that you don’t actually know what it is?

PATRICK: Oh, who keeps track of these things. <brandishes the rod> Also good for channeling, I suppose. Which I also won’t be doing…

EDWIN: I think Helcular could use one of those.

PATRICK: <shrugs and tosses it onto the floor> Here, give it to him, we don’t need it for anything. Ah ha!

GARROSH: What ah ha?

DOAN: Isilien, I’m starting to think this friend of yours might be a little crazy.

PATRICK: Ah! Good news, everyone, I found it! Just what the doctor ordered!

Patrick pulls a polished bronze canister from the box – less than a foot on each side, runes engraved in a horizontal band, and a rounded lid on top.

ISILIEN: What is it?

PATRICK: Let’s see how crazy I am now, Doan. The correct answer is very.

DOAN: Fine, fine, but what is it?

PATRICK: <hands the canister to Doan> Oh, just an ordinary canister.

DOAN: I don’t really see how that’s usef—

PATRICKThat’s no ordinary canister!

ISILIEN: Didn’t you just…

EDWIN: Just let him.  It goes faster.

PATRICK: This isn’t just your standard polished inscribed jewel-encrusted bronze box, oh no…

GARROSH: Actually, I don’t see any jewels…

PATRICK: Hey, those student loans aren’t going to pay themselves.

EDWIN: That’s fine. Don’t listen to the incapacitated guy.

PATRICK: What we have here is a mirrored reliquary. Its interior is enchanted to reflect magic back on itself and keep it contained within the canister indefinitely – basically takes a magical source and forces it to charge itself up even further. Sounds about right, doesn’t it?

DOAN: Damn near perfect.

ISILIEN: Indeed. I assume the fragment would have to stay sealed inside the reliquary at all times?

PATRICK: Until we need its energies unleashed, yes.

ISILIEN: In that case, the only thing left is to come up with a way to set it to release the energy in the presence of undead.

PATRICK: Well, it’s not even so much the undead themselves, as the presence of shadow magic? Or…whatever it’s called, necrotic something-or-other, the energy that reanimates them?

DOAN: Assuming we can put this together, by the way, where would you suggest using it, Isilien?

ISILIEN: For all intents and purposes, we’re creating a bomb that doesn’t detonate until its target is right on top of it. I’d suggest we plant it in one of our cities, such that, should the undead begin to invade, it will serve the ward off the first wave.

DOAN: Where would you suggest? Andorhal? Stratholme? Lordaeron proper?

ISILIEN: There’s no telling where the undead might move first. But Southshore is where we made our discovery. I think it’s as good a place as any to receive our first attempt at safeguarding.

DOAN: Here in Southshore it is, then.

PATRICK: As for releasing the energy… I’m fairly sure I could work up some sort of gadgetry that would react to exposure to necrotic energy, and unseal the reliquary.

DOAN: You know how to do that?

PATRICK: I’ll have you know I’ve had a fair bit of training in engineering.

EDWIN: Granted, when he builds something, a lot of the time he gets a little too creative for his own good.

PATRICK: Oh, people just like to complain.

EDWIN: He’s all about the coulda, not the shoulda.

PATRICK: Fine, fine. Everyone’s always in favor of cloning dinosaurs, but harness one to a shark equipped with a ray gun and rocket boosters and oooh, suddenly you’ve gone too far.

DOAN: Wait, you mean you…?

EDWIN: <sitting up on the bed and stretching> Don’t give him a chance to dig out the blueprints, really.

PATRICK: <chuckles> Anyway, though… The point is, I’m pretty sure that we can assemble some sort of trigger mechanism that will react to nearby shadow energies. Then, out comes the powerful, cleansing light.

Garrosh helps Edwin to his feet, then looks to Liadrin, who returns his nod.

GARROSH: I seems like you guys have this under control, so I think we’re going to help Edwin here back to his room and let you all get to work.

LIADRIN: As fascinating as this last part of the project is, I’m sure those of us not mechanically inclined would only be in the way.

ISILIEN: Understandable. Your friend could stand to get some rest, in a place that isn’t full of people chattering on.

EDWIN: You have no idea, my friend.

ISILIEN: Thank you all for your help with this.

GARROSH: No problem, Isilien.

LIADRIN: Our pleasure, Isilien. Also, if I might offer a word of advice for after you’re finished here?

ISILIEN: Yes?

LIADRIN: Everything that’s happened in this room…it should stay in this room. Don’t spread word of what you’ve done – or what happened with Mograine’s crystal – to anyone.

ISILIEN: I know how to be discreet, so no concerns there.

GARROSH: Yeah, but at the same time, you also seem to like to bring people in for help. You want to be careful even about your allies.

DOAN: See, I keep telling you you’re too trusting.

GARROSH: I’m just saying, you need to keep your guard up about this stuff. I mean, even if someone looks trustworthy, you can’t just take them at face value. I’ve had my own…dealings…with the undead. They’re not all slobbering zombies stumbling around groaning about brains. You never know who you’re really dealing with, no matter how things look on the surface.

ISILIEN: <eyes growing wide> You…you’re right. The undead could be anyone – we can’t trust anyone outside our own circle…

GARROSH: Anyway! Let’s get Edwin back to his room. Night, guys.

PATRICK: I’ll come check on you later, Edwin.

LIADRIN: Goodbye, all.

EDWIN: Thanks, Patrick. Night.

Garrosh, Edwin, and Liadrin leave the room, close the door behind them, and walk down the hall toward their rooms.

GARROSH: So what’s the verdict about the crystal?

LIADRIN: When I was holding it, it felt exactly the same as when I felt M’uru restoring the Sunwell. That confirms what I already suspected – I think Mograine’s crystal is the spark of a dying naaru.

GARROSH: So you mean the Ashbringer is actually made out of…naaru essence? Crap, no wonder the thing’s so powerful.

EDWIN: Why did it seem to gravitate toward you?

LIADRIN: I’m probably the only person it’s encountered who’s been touched by another of the naaru. M’uru, A’dal… It changes you. I imagine the spark could sense it, maybe even perceived it as kinship.

GARROSH: Well aren’t you special.

LIADRIN: I rather am, actually.

EDWIN: And so, given all of its naaru-driven holy energy, I imagine that fragment knocked me on my ass because I’m… <glancing around to either side as they near their own doors> Well, you know… <holds his arms in an exaggerated marching-zombie pose>

LIADRIN: You are and you aren’t.

EDWIN: How do you mean?

LIADRIN: I mean that yes, the energy rendered you unconscious because of your…normal state. But that’s more of a…it’s hard to explain. Hold on.

Liadrin opens the door to one of the rooms, leads them in, and closes the door behind them.

Look at it this way. When we came through the time portal, we all took on human appearances. But it wasn’t as simple as a glamour or illusion spell. If one of us were injured and went to a doctor, the doctor would be able to examine us, work on us the same as anyone else. They wouldn’t be reaching through some surface illusion and finding an elvish or orich or Forsaken body underneath. Likewise if one of us died, we wouldn’t just revert back to our normal appearances. As long as we’re here in this time, we literally are human.

GARROSH: You’re TRYING to make me sick, aren’t you?

EDWIN: Huh. Interesting. But if that’s the case, I don’t see why the crystal would affect me at all.

LIADRIN: That’s the tricky part. We’re all still carrying vestiges of our old selves, sort of a shadow or overlay of who we normally are. In a sense both our forms still exist, overlapping in the same space, with our current state toggled onto this one on a quantum level, and…

GARROSH: Okay, okay, let’s just say we’re human with a little drop of whatever else before you make my brain go on strike.

LIADRIN: You’re just lucky it was merely the smaller fragment. If you’d touched the main crystal itself it could very well have still killed you, even in this form.

EDWIN: Ouch.

GARROSH: That could have been awkward.

EDWIN: Yes, I would hate to have an awkward death.

GARROSH: I just mean explaining it. Like to your brother.

LIADRIN: I did the best I could just to cover for what did happen.

EDWIN: Okay, well, let’s just drop it. I’ve already had enough real deaths to dwell on, without obsessing on the near deaths too.

 

So while we’ve been back here in our rooms, Patrick has been staying with Isilien and Doan trying to get their gadget assembled. The good news is that once it’s done, we don’t have to worry too much about tracking it down – we pretty much know that they’re going to plant it somewhere under the inn, which means the cellar, so once Isilien has had time to set it up, we can just get down there, take our readings, and high-tail it out of here.

Which, by the way, we can DO now, because while we were in our meeting, Mokvar managed to catch Tirion’s kid up in the lounge, got him playing with the frog formerly known as Faranell, and got the kid to agree to a trade for the shard. Want to hear the funny part, by the way? I got a kick out of this. I guess when Mokvar first offered to trade with him for the frog, he started out by asking Taelan for the toy warhammer he’s always carrying around, and then let the kid talk him down to the shard. I guess Mokvar figured if he came right out of the gate asking for the shard, the little snot-nose would be less likely to give it up.

Ideally I would have rather had the shard while we were in Isilien’s room, of course, but at this point it’s not worth running back in there and getting everybody’s guard up. My guess is that they’re going to have the reliquary ready by the end of the night, tomorrow morning at the latest, and at that point we should be good to go.

 

Past imperfect

southshore1

So we finally have things in motion to find out just what Isilien and Doan wind up doing with the light crystal. We’re hoping we can stay close to whatever we’re doing, and then get a read on whatever kind of magic they end up using the create the anti-plague effect. To that end, we brought a special magic component – something called a chameleon shard. When it’s put in close proximity to a magically-charged object or field, it attunes itself to it and basically recreates the magic properties inside its own…crystalline…matrix, I think it is? Anyway, point is, it sucks up a carbon copy of the magic close to it and locks it up so we can take it with us without it going kablooey, and once we have THAT done at the original, untriggered source of this thing, we should be able to use it to create a counter-effect.

Which leads us to the latest meeting of the minds from this morning…

 

MOKVAR: So what’s the game plan for tonight?

GARROSH: Isilien said we should pay him a visit after dark tonight. By that point, with any luck, he’ll have finished whatever he’s been working on with Doan, and we can get a look at the end results.

MOKVAR: What if it’s still a work in progress?

GARROSH: Well, then I guess we get to follow the ongoing work.

FARANELL: That could end up being helpful in itself. Depending on just what they’re doing, watching them actually formulating it might make it easier to determine a way to counter it.

MOKVAR: One thing, though. If you’re there, and they’re still working on it, won’t they want you guys to help them with it?

GARROSH: Probably.

MOKVAR: Won’t that be a problem? I mean, I’m guessing we weren’t supposed to create the problem we came back in time to try to solve.

LIADRIN: Maybe. Maybe not. For all we know, we were always part of the creation of this thing.

GARROSH: Either way, we can try to keep our help to a minimum, at least.

LIADRIN: It shouldn’t be terribly difficult to create the appearance of helping without interfering too much. Just listen to what they’re already thinking, then nudge them further in that direction without really feeding them any ideas they wouldn’t have come to regardless.

GARROSH: Also, Mokvar, I’m going to have you stay back for this one. You and Utvoch wait here in the room, or hang out downstairs if it looks clear, but I’m just going to go with Liadrin and Faranell, since they’re the ones who really need to check on this thing up close.

MOKVAR: Whatever you say, chief.

LIADRIN: Is there anything else we need to have in place before we go?

GARROSH: The only other thing is having the chameleon shard ready, in case they manage to get their little doohickey completely done tonight.

FARANELL: You’ve been holding it, haven’t you, Utvoch? I should probably give it a few arcane charges before we go, to have it warmed up just in case.

UTVOCH: Yeah, I’ve got it here.

Utvoch sets down his pack and starts digging through it.

MOKVAR: Say, Garrosh, I just realized, are you sure you don’t want me coming tonight to take notes?

GARROSH: <shakes head> Isilien was already less than thrilled about bringing in more people, and Doan didn’t seem like he’s going to be very friendly. I don’t want to push my luck inviting more people than necessary to the party, much less setting off any bells by having someone hanging around writing down everything everyone says.

MOKVAR: Yeah, true. I was just thinking this might be the part of the trip where we’d especially like to keep a record of things.

LIADRIN: I can always write it up after we’re done, as well. I do agree it’s to our benefit to record as much of this as possible, especially in case we need to keep our stories straight for timeline purposes.

FARANELL: I can help with that when you’re working on it. I have an eidetic memory, so I should be able to cover most of what ends up being said.

UTVOCH: <still rifling around in his pack> Wait, you dead what?

FARANELL: No, eidetic.

LIADRIN: It means a photographic memory.

UTVOCH: Oh. What’s photographic?

GARROSH: Hold on. You have an eidetic memory?

FARANELL: Yeah. I was tested for it as a kid and everything. <chuckles> Only reason Patrick didn’t wind up three grades ahead of me.

GARROSH: So can I ask you something?

FARANELL: Yes?

GARROSH: If you’re supposed to have this uber-memory, how come you’re always forgetting shit?

MOKVAR: You do seem pretty forgetful sometimes.

FARANELL: I don’t know why people keep saying that.

GARROSH: Because it’s true?

FARANELL: I’ll have you know, I can recite back to you every book I’ve read in the last five years.

LIADRIN: Well, it might just be that he has excellent recall of specific sights and sounds, or language? But broader events slip his memory sometimes?

FARANELL: “Our first day went as well as one can expect first days to go. Most of our time was preoccupied with making the necessary arrangements to establish a base camp. I located an ideal setting by a freshwater river inlet. Judging by the old, abandoned docks nearby, this site was inhabited sometime ago. As for the original inhabitants, only time can tell that tale.” Just saying.

GARROSH: Okay, fine, you have a perfect memory except for when you don’t. Go ahead and help Liadrin with the recordkeeping if it makes you happy.

UTVOCH: So, um, guys? I think we have a problem.

MOKVAR: Oh no.

FARANELL: Here we go.

GARROSH: What is it?

UTVOCH: Well, um…I don’t think the shard is here.

LIADRIN: That’s kind of bad.

GARROSH: What. Do you mean. The shard. Isn’t HERE?

UTVOCH: I don’t know, I was keeping it in my pack, only it’s not here now…

FARANELL: Let me see that.

Faranell grabs the pack from Utvoch and starts sifting through its contents, tossing assorted pieces of junk onto the floor.

GARROSH: Fucking hell, Utvoch, you had ONE FUCKING JOB on this trip…

FARANELL: Nope…nope… No – for goodness’ sake, man, how many comic books do you need?

LIADRIN: Could someone have gotten to it while you were away from the room or some such?

UTVOCH: No, it’s been in that pack since we got here, and I’ve kept the pack with me the entire time.

MOKVAR: You’re sure you didn’t leave it alone around someone?

UTVOCH: Of course I didn’t, what do you think I’m stupid or something?

Everyone looks around at each other for a moment.

GARROSH: You know what? Any other time that would have been really funny, but right now I’m not in the fucking mood.

FARANELL: <handing the pack brusquely back to Utvoch> Well, that settles it. It’s definitely not here.

UTVOCH: <looking through pack again> Hey, I had a Nutterbar in here that’s gone, too.

MOKVAR: Utvoch, nobody cares about your stupid candy bar.

GARROSH: Hang on.

LIADRIN: Oh no.

GARROSH: Utvoch, you’re SURE you’ve kept that pack with you the whole time we’ve been in Southshore?

UTVOCH: Positive.

GARROSH: <rubbing his head> Yeah… So…

FARANELL: Oh…no.

GARROSH: Shiny, gimmicky-looking crystal, AND a candy bar missing, AND he’s been spending almost all his time doing what…?

LIADRIN: <sighs> By the Light, Utvoch…

UTVOCH: Spending all my time…? Oh CRAP, you think the kid took it?

GARROSH: Tirion’s brat is the only person you’ve been around for any length of time since we’ve been here. Unless you think THRALL made off with it?

UTVOCH: Do you think Thrall would have taken—OWW!

MOKVAR: Hey, um, why is there all this smoke in here all of sudden?

GARROSH: Of COURSE Thrall wouldn’t have taken it!

LIADRIN: There isn’t something burning, is there?

FARANELL: No, this isn’t ffrroomm aa ffiirree.

MOKVAR: Wwhhyy aarree yyoouu ttaallkkiinngg ssoo ssllooww—oohh, nneevveerr mmiinndd…

GARROSH: OOhh bbooyyy. HHHeeerrreee wwweee gggooo aaagggaaaiiinnn….

The smoke thickens as Soridormi and Chromie teleport into the room, flanking the door. A few seconds later, Nozdormu strolls pimps [Word choice revised at the Warchief’s insistence. –Mkvr., ed.] into the room in slow motion.

NOZDORMU: Greetings, Warchief.

CHROMIE: Hiya, guys!

GARROSH: Hey— <waves his hand around in front of his face for a moment to see if it’s moving at normal speed> Okay, that’s better. Hey Noz.

MOKVAR: Is that really necessary?

NOZDORMU: Is what really necessary?

Soridormi, standing behind Nozdormu, shakes her head vigorously while waving one hand side to side.

MOKVAR: Never mind.

CHROMIE: <giggles>

GARROSH: So I’m guessing this isn’t just a social call.

NOZDORMU: Indeed, Warchief.

SORIDORMI: We’re concerned that something may be amiss with your mission.

FARANELL: Oh, you have no idea.

NOZDORMU: I’ve detected a disturbance in the timeline, located roughly around this point. At this stage it’s difficult for me to pinpoint its origin exactly; whatever the key events are, I suspect they’re still in their early stages of unfolding, and without my Aspect powers I find my ability to see through the cracks in the timeline more limited than they were. Nevertheless, something in the proper progression of these events has been disrupted.

MOKVAR: Yeah, um…

GARROSH: About that.

FARANELL: Really? So we traveled back ten years, got a bunch of Alliance from the future killed in the past, there’s two copies of me running around within like ten yards of each other, we’ve dropped a highly sensitive and powerful magical attunement device into the hands of a kid who’s going to grow up to be a xenophobic nutjob—

CHROMIE: You really want to get that back pronto, by the way.

FARANELL: —and  now you’re telling us that something has been disrupted in the timeline? Imagine my astonishment.

NOZDORMU: You know, it’s not too late for me to skip back about thirty years and arrange for a certain someone never to have been born.

GARROSH: At the rate this is going, could you get me too on the way back?

MOKVAR: Wouldn’t it be better just to erase Utvoch?

GARROSH: You know what? Good call. Let’s go with that instead.

UTVOCH: Wait, what? He’s going to do what to me?

GARROSH: Shouldn’t you be busy right now THINKING ABOUT WHAT YOU’VE DONE?

UTVOCH: Sorry, sir.

NOZDORMU: At…any rate.

SORIDORMI: I wish we could give you more specific information, but unfortunately…

NOZDORMU: All I can really tell you is that something is amiss, but still very much in flux. You need to take extreme care not to cause any further disturbances in the events of this time, and get back to your own time as quickly as possible.

FARANELL: So, in other words, don’t mess up. Thanks, that helps a lot.

NOZDORMU: Or I could fast-forward you up to the day of your death. That could work too, you know.

FARANELL: Already been there, actually.

NOZDORMU: Would you like a return trip?

SORIDORMI: <giving Nozdormu a gentle tug on the shoulder> We…know this is a hectic and confusing time for you all. We simply mean to impress upon you the importance of the utmost caution.

GARROSH: Believe me, nobody wants to find the source of that anti-plague thing and get out of here without a fuss more than me.

LIADRIN: And by the looks of it, I’d say we’re not far off.

UTVOCH: Can I ask a stupid question?

GARROSH: Like nobody I’ve ever met.

UTVOCH: Huh?

GARROSH: Never mind. Ask.

UTVOCH: Well okay, you guys are going to try to see what caused that thing that’s killing the undead, right?

GARROSH: Only a week in and you’ve already pieced that together, huh? You’re getting sharp on me.

FARANELL: In other words, yes.

UTVOCH: Well then, begging your pardon, Warchief, not to question your great and imperious judgment, but while we’re here, couldn’t we just stop those guys from doing it in the first place?

LIADRIN, NOZDORMU, and SORIDORMI: <overlapping> No.

UTVOCH: Oh. Why not?

LIADRIN: Paradoxes.

UTVOCH: Wait, parrot oxes? You mean we’ll create some weird new animal or something?

CHROMIE: Oi, this one’s a shitake mushroom for brains…

UTVOCH: Actually, you know, parrot oxes could be kind of cool…

LIADRIN: No. Paradoxes. If we prevent the anti-plague from being created in the past, when we get to the future, the anti-plague won’t exist, but then there won’t be a reason for us to come to the past anymore, so we won’t, so then the anti-plague will be created, and so forth, in an endless self-canceling loop.

CHROMIE: See, see, I told you I liked her!

UTVOCH: …So you could have the parrot oxes plowing the fields, but while they’re doing that they could talk, and that would probably make the work go faster since I bet working in the fields for hours gets pretty boring, and—

Utvoch finds himself unable to finish his sentence, as his train of thought is interrupted by his unplanned transformation into a sheep.

FARANELL: Okay. That’s enough from him.

LIADRIN: Ha! You polymorphed him?

GARROSH: Dude, that’s…that’s just…I don’t even have a word for how much awesome that is.

UTVOCH: <bleats>

MOKVAR: Hmm, you know, that’s giving me an idea…

NOZDORMU: At this point I suppose we should leave you to your work…

CHROMIE: You definitely want to work on getting that shard thingy back fast.

LIADRIN: I would imagine Tirion would be a fairly strict father. I suppose if we told him we think his son might have stolen something, he would—

GARROSH: Maybe make the kid give it back, yeah, and maybe ask “Oh, so what is this thing my kid swiped? Oh, a magical shard, what for?” And maybe ask Doan about it, who almost definitely is going to know his chameleon shards. And maybe Tirion gets curious about what these people hanging out with Isilien have one of THOSE for…

LIADRIN: Hmm, true, probably too risky, I suppose…

CHROMIE: Oh feldercarb, you people need to stop dancing around it! Just grab the kid and steal it back! What’s he going to do, stop you? He’s a kid!

UTVOCH: <bleats>

FARANELL: Well, to be fair, he could call his fairly powerful, well-connected paladin dad, who we absolutely can’t harm while we’re here, so…

CHROMIE: Fine, fine, so you just keep him incapacitated while you steal it! You can…well jiminy, Faranell could sheep him just like Utvoch…

UTVOCH: <bleats>

CHROMIE: Or you could hex him, or, I don’t care, Throwdown or Repentance, or… flipping flux capacitor, you’ve got a room full of crowd control here, do you really need me drawing a diagram for you guys?

GARROSH: Wow, you’ve REALLY got a yen for us to mug this kid, don’t you?

CHROMIE: Hey, do you want your thingymabob back or not?

MOKVAR: Actually, along those lines, I was thinking… Since you all have powers over time, would it be possible for you to give one of us…well, a buff, I suppose. To prolong the duration of a spell like polymorph?

CHROMIE: Huh… What do you think, skipper?

NOZDORMU: It would be simple enough, though such an enhancement would have to have a very limited number of charges…

FARANELL: You’re thinking you’d want me to hit Taelan with a super-polymorph?

MOKVAR: Actually I was thinking more of my hex. What I had in mind—

The door to the room swings open and Kelly the innkeeper barges in.

KELLY: Hey, what’s going on up here? I’m hearing all kinds of noise down in the… <looks down at Utvoch the sheep> …lobby…

GARROSH: Oh, hey, um…

LIADRIN: There’s…a very simple explanation for that.

FARANELL: Yes, there is, although regrettably it reflects rather poorly on all of us…

UTVOCH: <bleats>

KELLY: What the blazes are you people doing with a sheep up here? We don’t… <glances over and notices Nozdormu and Soridormi> …High elves? Gracious, we haven’t seen high elves in Southshore in I don’t know how long. I didn’t think you went slumming far beyond Dalaran…

SORIDORMI: Yes, well…

GARROSH: Um, yeah, I can explain them, too.

NOZDORMU: You can?

SORIDORMI: He can.

NOZDORMU: I hope so.

KELLY: I’m listening.

GARROSH: Look… Mr. Kelly… I’m going to level with you. Clearly you, um, you’re an observant guy, so you must be aware that there’s a lot of strange business going on around here these days.

KELLY: Mostly since you lot turned up, yes.

GARROSH: Right. Well. Um, yes, that’s why we’re here, you see. My people and I are…um…special investigators sent by the king. We have a…a number of leads concerning some suspicious activities leading us to Southshore, and me and my fellow royal investigators are here to…um…investigate. Royally.

FARANELL: <aside to Garrosh> Smooth.

KELLY: The king sent… Wait, which king?

GARROSH: Which king? Oh, well… <aside to Liadrin> Who’s the king now?

LIADRIN: <aside> Of which kingdom?

GARROSH: <aside, hissing> Just GIVE ME A FUCKING NAME!

LIADRIN: Terenas!

GARROSH: Terenas! Yes, yes, good old King Terenas!

KELLY: Ahh, all right, so you’re sent from here in Lordaeron. For a minute, as strange as you were acting, I thought you might have been sent from Stormwind or some such damn thing.

GARROSH: Oh no, no, we’re definitely looking out for dear old Lordaeron.

KELLY: A good thing, too, as I was going to have words for you if you said you’d been sent by that hot-headed damn brat of a king they have down there!

GARROSH: Wait, brat…? You mean Varian?

KELLY: Yessir! Fuck that Varian, if you ladies will pardon my language!

GARROSH: Oh HELL yes! I KNEW I liked you, Kelly! I’ll be sure to give a fine report on you to good old Tyranus.

LIADRIN: Terenas.

GARROSH: Whoever the fuck he is!

KELLY: Well hold on now.

GARROSH: Hmm?

KELLY: First of all, you say you’re royal investigators, and that sounds all well and good, but how do I know you’re telling the truth?

GARROSH: I…have an honest face?

KELLY: Lots of liars do! If you’re really sent by the king, you surely must have sort of papers to prove you are who you say you are.

GARROSH: Oh. Right. Where did I put those…um…

Nozdormu and Soridormi exchange a look, Soridormi nods, and Nozdormu sighs briefly.

NOZDORMU: Did you forget…Inspector? You asked me to hold your royal orders.

GARROSH: I did?

NOZDORMU: <glaring> I don’t know, did you?

GARROSH: OH RIGHT. I did. Yes. You have the documents on you, then?

NOZDORMU: <handing Garrosh some papers> Here you are, Inspector.

GARROSH: Uh, but these are blank—

SORIDORMI: I’m sure, Inspector, if you let good Mr. Kelly here review the documents, he’ll find everything is in order…

GARROSH: Right, right, sure…

Garrosh hands the papers to Kelly, who flips through them for a moment.

KELLY: Well, you’re right…I would know Terenas’ seal anywhere… I suppose you are who you say…

GARROSH: Hell yes! Now if you’ll excuse us, Mr. Kelly—

KELLY: <turning to face Nozdormu, Soridormi, and Chromie> I’m still curious what business high elves have with this investigation of yours, though, Inspector. And…a gnome?

CHROMIE: Hiya!

GARROSH: Ah. Right, well, you see, Mr. Kelly, these are special undercover agents, on loan from Silvermoon and…someplace where there are gnomes. Regrettably. Anyway, these are my top operatives – The Legs, The Noz, and Mrs. Robbin’-Son.

CHROMIE: I hate you.

GARROSH: No you don’t.

KELLY: Huh. I see. Well I suppose that explains that—

Behind Kelly’s back, Utvoch’s polymorph wears off and he poofs back into his human appearance.

UTVOCH: The hell was—

Liadrin slaps a hand over Utvoch’s mouth, and she and Faranell pull him back to stand with them.

LIADRIN: Ssshhh!!

KELLY: —but you still haven’t accounted for having a damned sheep in your room!

LIADRIN: What sheep?

FARANELL: I don’t see a sheep.

UTVOCH: Did you guys not see—OWW!!

KELLY: <looking around> It was right here when I first came in.

GARROSH: Are you sure?

MOKVAR: I don’t remember there being a sheep in here.

FARANELL: I’m pretty sure I would have noticed if there were a sheep in my room.

GARROSH: I wouldn’t be much of an inspector if I’d missed something like that.

LIADRIN: Certainly not one of the king’s select agents.

GARROSH: Yep yep. Right hand man of King Terribad, that’s me.

LIADRIN: Actually, it’s Tere—

GARROSH: It’s what his friends call him.

LIADRIN: Of course.

KELLY: Hmm… Well… It must be gone now. Though I haven’t a notion of where it could have gone. I know there was something up here making noises!

LIADRIN: Mr. Kelly, perhaps you should get some rest. I’m concerned that you may be working too hard and starting to imagine things.

KELLY: I’m not imagining things, missy. I’m sure I heard a sheep up in this—

Kelly finds himself unable to finish his sentence, as his assertion is interrupted by his transformation into a sheep.

GARROSH: Well I’ll be damned. He’s right.

LIADRIN: Faranell!

FARANELL: Did you have a way in mind to get him to leave? That didn’t also involve gallons of delightful irony?

GARROSH: Okay, okay, Utvoch, you herd the innkeeper on downstairs real quick, and then we can get back to business.

UTVOCH: Yes, sir.

NOZDORMU: And, for my part, I believe the time has come for me to make my exit. Before I’m forced to witness any more absurdity that I can never unwitness.

GARROSH: Later, Noz.

SORIDORMI: <aside> I don’t know why it surprises you, of all people.

NOZDORMU: <aside> It’s not that it surprises me, it’s just… Ugh, that one in particular.

SORIDORMI: <aside> Well don’t blame me. I didn’t have to find a nice Mag’har girl to get to coincidentally cross paths with Grom…

NOZDORMU: <aside> I know, I know, I thought it would calm him down a bit.

SORIDORMI: <aside> And how did that work out?

 

So anyway…as much as I’d like to invest some more time in beating some sense (or unconsciousness) into Utvoch, that’s going to have to wait for now. Mokvar seems to have some kind of brainstorm for something we can do, and we’re starting to run short on time, so we’ve got to get things rolling. More soon.

 

kelly

“Why do I have a sudden craving for dandelions?”

 

YOUR WARCHIEF IS A GENIUS

noz

Not that you guys didn’t already know that, but you know what, I’m going to repeat it, BECAUSE IT BEARS REPEATING.

YOUR WARCHIEF IS A FUCKING GENIUS.

Why, you ask? YOU MEAN YOU CAN’T THINK OF THREE OR FOUR REASONS OFF THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD? Okay, fine, maybe you just suffered head trauma or something, or you’re Dontrag or Utvoch, so I guess I can let it slide. Just this once. Anyway, I suppose I should explain what I’ve come up with.

So, you know how we’re trying to figure out a solution to the whole anti-plague thing in Southshore, and how we tracked it back to that meeting Tirion had with his other Silver Hand people, and that dark crystal that they turned light and used to make the Ashbringer with…only, that lead wound up being a dead end, literally, since Tirion’s the only one who was there at the time who isn’t dead now? Well check out this flash of brilliance – yeah, sure, those people are all dead NOW, but they weren’t ALWAYS dead, right? And I know what you’re thinking, “Uh, yeah, Garrosh, that’s the way dead works, people don’t start off dead, they come out the gate not being dead, not being dead, not being dead, still not dead, not dead yet, OH FUCK now they’re dead, the end.” Well SHUT UP and LET ME FINISH. Fucking hell, you and your damned interruptions. Point is, we can’t go question people like Isilien and Doan NOW because they’re dead, but who says we can’t just go track them down at some point when they WEREN’T dead? Because guess what, it just so happens I have an in with some people – loosely speaking – who know a thing or two about time travel.

Yup, that’s right. I’ve already contacted Thrall, and as we speak he’s talking to his old Deathwing-slaying buddy Nozdormu, and so as soon as we get the details squared away, I’ll be rounding up a team and heading down to the Caverns of Time.

GARROSH, YOU GENIUS, YOU’VE DONE IT AGAIN.

Anyway…while Thrall finishes making nice, I’m going to get a jump on prepping for the trip. I’ve only met Nozdormu the one time myself, and I didn’t really get to talk to him so much, so I might want to be ready to make nice myself when I get down there. I’ve heard he’s got a real sweet tooth when it comes to pastry, so I’m thinking I might get Marogg to whip up a batch of Greatmother’s lemon squares. Anything to grease the wheels, you know?

More updates soon. Don’t be surprised if the next time you hear from me, it’s from Tanaris.

 

 

[Header image provided by regular reader and commenter ZugZug, used here with permission and many thanks.]