Tag Archives: ashbringer

30 Days of Character Development #10: Liadrin

[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!]

 

liadrin_profile1Name: Lady Liadrin

Occupation: Blood Knight Matriarch, paladin trainer, scholar of the Light

Race: Blood elf

Class: Paladin, priest (formerly), warrior (formerly)

Age: 209

Group affiliations: Horde (citizen), Kingdom of Quel’Thalas (citizen), Blood Knight Order (supreme leader), Shattered Sun Offensive (now disbanded; former member and officer)

Known relatives: Salandria (adopted daughter), High Priest Vandellor (surrogate father)

First appearance: “Well who woulda thought

Key posts and plot points:

  • Even though Lady Liadrin has more lore behind her than most people realize, you probably wouldn’t wouldn’t know it from her in-game appearances, which consist of a few events (albeit important ones) in The Burning Crusade and a cameo in Wrath of the Lich King, before she returned to the stage in Warlords of Draenor. Those of you who are interested in learning more about the canonical Liadrin should visit her Wowpedia page; for blog purposes, a recap of a few quick details might prove useful.
  • Liadrin was the first of the Blood Knights — blood elf paladins — and remains the matriarch of the order to this day. Originally, the Blood Knights attained their command of the Light by siphoning power from the captured naaru M’uru, whom they held captive in Silvermoon (in the same cellar, notably, in which Rommath’s magisters attempted to open a sha container in  this quest and this blog tie-in to said quest). After the events of Sunwell Plateau, Liadrin realized the depths of her error and repented; she went on to reform the Blood Knights and periodically address blood elf pilgrims at the Sunwell about the path that had led herself and her people to where they are today.
  • liadrinprofile1Garrosh was first introduced to Liadrin during the Anti-Plague of Southshore storyline. When Garrosh uncovered a likely link between the anti-necrotic effect killing the Forsaken, the creation of the Ashbringer, and possibly the naaru, Lor’themar Theron recommended Liadrin to the Warchief as an expert on all things Light-related. She eventually joined Garrosh, Mokvar, Faranell, and (spirits help us) Utvoch in traveling back in time to old Hillsbrad to find the anti-plague’s source.
  • In the aftermath of the Southshore mission, Liadrin played a major role in the subsequent Timequake arc, in which our characters discovered that Faranell had inadvertently disrupted history to catastrophic effect. In the resulting alternate timeline, Liadrin was leader of the Argent Crusade and bearer of the Ashbringer (replacing a fallen Tirion Fordring) (Once again, Blizzard, WCB got there first!). With the proper timeline restored, Liadrin remains one of the only people (along with Garrosh, Mokvar, Faranell, and Utvoch) who remember the events of the alternate universe.
  • Liadrin has taken it upon herself to help provide a support system for Shay, and has generally become a mentor of sorts for her.
  • A few years ago, during the Outland campaign, Liadrin adopted blood elf orphan Salandria, whom many players will remember as the orphan they escorted around Outland during Children’s Week. (Please try not to hold the agony of the battleground achievement against the poor girl.)
  • Liadrin appears fairly adept at handling the more…difficult members of the supporting cast (I won’t name names, but smart money says the letters D and U feature prominently).  Maybe it’s her background as a paladin trainer. Or experience raising a small child.
  • During the time-traveling mission to Southshore, Liadrin helped cover for Mokvar on a few occasions when he wasn’t free to record transcripts, making her, albeit briefly, Garrosh’s first subtitute/alternate scribe. (Sorry, Gurtash and Tak, she beat you to it!)
  • A quick peek behind the curtain: Long, long ago, in the early days of the blog, I’d intended to draw the supporting cast (other than Spazzle, who was around from the start) from actual lore characters. (So much for that idea, huh? Gurtash, Taktani, and Shayari say hi.) While people like Garona and Saurfang appeared (and will continue to do so), I tried to draw more heavily from less prominent, peripheral characters — questgivers and other NPCs who are in the game, but were unlikely to factor significantly into Blizzard’s plans going forward. Hence we got people like Mokvar, Faranell, and, of course, Dontrag and Utvoch. Liadrin likewise fell into this group — while she had a significant place in lore, and she was a character I was rather fond of myself, she also hadn’t really been heard from since TBC, and she seemed like a character I could use for my own purposes without having to worry much about Blizzard doing something with her. And so, of course, in a move akin to a certain someone’s surprise promotion to Treasurer mini-boss, guess who Blizz decided to dust off for Warlords of Draenor? (Don’t worry, though. It’s going to end up working for me.) (In the end, they will all serve me. BWAHAHAHAAA!) (Ahem.)

In her own words:

Describe your relationship with your mother or your father. Was it good? Bad? Were you spoiled rotten, ignored? Do you still get along now, or no?

My parents were killed by Amani trolls while I was still young; in their place, High Priest Vandellor took it upon himself to raise me. He was the closest thing to a father I would ever know. It was under his guidance that I first began my study of the Light, at the time as an acolyte priestess. Vandellor died many years later, during the Scourge invasion of Quel’Thalas. My grief over the loss of Vandellor and the devastation that had been dealt to my people drove me to forsake the Light and take up the blade of a warrior. Eventually, Grand Magister Rommath would suggest an alternate path to the Light, one far less supplicating. My judgment, at the time, was…erroneous.

How vain are you? Do you find yourself attractive?

Go ahead, make the obvious blood elf jokes over that one.

That said, I like to think I’m at least as pretty as Lor’themar. Which, I suppose, is still saying something.

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

There have been losses and pains, both personal and massive in scale, that I might wish had never happened. I don’t believe that makes me very different from most who’ve lived through – or during – these past several decades. As for erasing them altogether? I’ve already seen the ripples that can follow even a tiny change in the past. What has happened has happened. It has made me who I am now, and the world what it is. Better for me to live with both.

liadrin-follower1Can you define a turning point in your life? Multiples are acceptable.

The fall of Silvermoon was one, for certain. It drove me to what I believed was my darkest, lowest point, one of anger and grief and despair. Little did I know that I would still find a lower depth to crawl into, hidden away in a Silvermoon basement.

The turning point that I think of most, though, was the one that saved me (at least I hope): the rekindling of the Sunwell. The spark of M’uru – the Naaru we had once imprisoned and fed on to empower the Blood Knights – reawakened the energies of the Sunwell and began the salvation of the very people who had once been his captors. Who had pushed M’uru onto the slow fall into darkness…

It was the moment I fully understood the true magnitude of my sins, and the moment I was offered the strength by which I might yet find redemption.

How are you with technology? Super savvy, or way behind the times? Letters or e-mail?

While I would never call myself an expert, I try to keep myself current and adequately proficient in new technology. I will never understand the impulse exhibited by some to treat age as a justification — or, worse, a mandate — for willfully falling behind. There is hardly time more pointlessly wasted than that spent stubbornly fighting yesterday’s battles.

Are you an early morning bird or a night owl?

I prefer to rise with the sun. I hate to waste daylight.

Are there any blood relatives that you are particularly close with, besides the immediate ones? Cousins, uncles, grandfathers, aunts, etc. Are there any others that you practically consider a blood relative?

Vandellor was like a father to me – more family than my real parents, whom I had never known terribly well. Likewise, though I’ve never given birth, I can’t imagine I would feel much differently about my “own” children than I do about Salandria.

What does your desk/workspace look like? Are you neat or messy?

The popular truism about genius corresponding with messiness is, I’ve found, a misconception. An orderly space goes with an orderly mind.

Are you a good cook? What’s your favorite recipe?

Goodness no. I appreciate good cooking — Vandellor was quite good at it — but I’m thoroughly, hopelessly unskilled in the kitchen myself. Thank goodness Silvermoon suffers from no shortage of restaurants, and the matriarchy of the Blood Knights carries with it fairly generous compensation.

Do you have any irrational fears?

liadrinprofile3Speaking in front of groups makes me uneasy. As a matter of professional necessity, I’ve learned to manage the anxiety to the point that I can typically go about my business without dwelling on it, but it’s never fully gone away. (What’s the old saying? It’s the mark of a professional that she does good work even when she doesn’t feel like it.)

What would your cutie mark be?

I don’t know what that is. I suspect I would be embarrassed to know. If I were 120 years younger, I suspect, I would still be embarrassed to know.

If you could time travel, where would you go?

That’s an interesting question. I’ll have to give it further consideration. In the meantime…next?

What’s your favorite comfort food, favorite vice, favorite outfit, favorite hot drink, favorite time of year, and favorite holiday?

The Wayfarer’s Rest Tavern in Silvermoon serves a venison stew that I can’t get enough of on cold days. I can’t imagine why someone would have a favorite vice, although I’ll confess that, for personal reasons, I do feel a certain sympathy for hubris. I usually wear my Blood Knight armor, but in my down time, I’m not terribly picky; if I have an opportunity to be out of my armor for a bit, my main priority is simply comfort. Ever since I was a child, I’ve been fond of swiftthistle tea with honey. There isn’t very much variation in the seasons in Eversong Woods, really, but for what little difference there is, I suppose I favor the winter — more excuses to indulge in that venison stew. The Harvest Festival, as it is observed within the Horde, resonates deeply with me: an annual reminder that, whatever our sins, the path to redemption is never beyond reach, however hard a road it may be to walk.

How do you smell? Do you wear perfume or cologne?

No perfume. It simply strikes me as…well, silly, I suppose. Though I do try to practice adequate hygiene so as not to give off any other odors. So…I smell clean, I suppose?

This was an odd note to end on. Who compiled these questions?

 

Previous Profiles:

  1. Spazzle Fizzletrinket
  2. Ben-Lin Cloudstrider
  3. Dontrag and Utvoch
  4. Taktani
  5. Korrina
  6. Mylune
  7. Mokvar
  8. Ruekie
  9. Tirion Fordring
 

30 Days of Character Development #9: Tirion Fordring

[Periodically — granted, that’s been a long period in this case — 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! I promise the next one will come along with much less delay than this one…]

 

Name: Tirion Rutherford Alouicious Wulfric Fordring IV

tirion_profile1Occupation: Supreme Commander of the Argent Crusade, Highlord of the Silver Hand, co-leader of the Ashen Verdict, lord of Mardenholde Keep, governor of Hearthglen

Race: Human

Class: Paladin

Age: 59

Group affiliations: Argent Crusade (leader), Knights of the Silver Hand (founding member and highlord), Ashen Verdict (co-leader), Hearthglen (former and current governor), Kingdom of Lordaeron (former citizen), Alliance of Lordaeron (former member)

Known relatives: Karandra Fordring (wife, deceased), Taelan Fordring (son, deceased), Devlin Fordring (father, deceased), Talya Fordring (mother, deceased), Lucius Fordring (uncle, deceased), Tirion Fordring III (grandfather, deceased) (Apparent survival tip: Don’t be related to Tirion Fordring.)

Earth Online notes: Tirion Fordring doesn’t play Earth Online, as far as anyone knows. (And you know it wouldn’t be even remotely difficult to pick him out if he ever turned up online…)

First appearance: “Monday mailbag” (first mention and anecdote), “Where did all the words go?” (first transcript appearance)

Key posts and plot points:

  • Tirion Fordring, obviously, is a major lore character whose backstory is long and voluminous (fittingly enough, eh?). We’ll only be touching on plot points here that are immediately relevant to his blog appearances; those interested in a broader look at Highlord Paragraph’s history should check out his entry on Wowpedia.
  • Tirion, as it turns out, had a hand in some of the…ahem…cranial oddities of Garrosh’s Cataclysm-era model. When asked by a mailbag reader about his unusually small head, Garrosh related that he accidentally squeezed his own head down to its smaller size while trying to cover his ears to block out Tirion’s endless droning in Icecrown Citadel.
  • Tirion’s first major appearance in the blog occurred early in the Anti-Plague of Southshore arc, in which he set Garrosh on the trail that would eventually lead him to old Southshore by relating the story of the mysterious crystal that the Knights of the Silver Hand used to forge the Ashbringer. (The blog version of the Ashbringer story, incidentally, blog-canonically confirms a longstanding fan theory: that the crystal from which the Ashbringer was forged was actually the remains of a dying Naaru.) He later gave the human incarnation of Edwin Faranell a home in Hearthglen (until everything started to go all wibbly whimey splodey).
  • In the subsequent Timequake storyline, Garrosh found himself drawn into an alternate timeline in which Tirion died in Icecrown Citadel and was raised as the first of the Lich King’s new Deathbringers. In this timeline, the Ashbringer had passed to Lady Liadrin, who had assumed leadership of the Argent Crusade after Tirion’s death.
  • Argent Confessor Paletress, as depicted in “Argent Gossip Girl,” suggests that to those who work with him closely on a daily basis, Tirion may be more temperamental, lewd, and alcohol-driven than his outer persona might suggest.
  • Tirion made a memorable appearance in Orgrimmar in “Anger Management,” in which, “sponsored” by Eitrigg, Tirion attended the anger management class conducted by Ben-Lin Cloudstrider. Evidently, Tirion gets rather angry when drunk. There was some indication that Eitrigg has been laboring with mixed success to steer his friend away from his worse inclinations. Poor Eitrigg.
  • Tirion’s appearances in the blog are often accompanied by cameos from Daria L’Rayne, one of his aides in Mardenholde Keep. As a coda to a number of these posts, the long-suffering Daria offers words of wisdom in the form of Daria’s Pro Tips for Dealing with Tirion. Pro tips enumerated thus far have been:
    • #8: Do not wear black mageweave leggings. Ever. Ever.
    • #11: If he asks you if you want to hear a story, say yes. He’s going to tell you either way, but if you say no, he’ll just take longer getting to it. Think of it as steering into the skid, only with the skid being a tedious barrage of words.
    • #14: Never make eye contact. Eye contact makes him assume you’re interested, and increases word output by 25%.
  • Let’s establish some bonus blog canon for the first time: Tirion shares a birthday with our very own Warchief. Specifically, December 17. (Backstory: While working on a timeline of blog and canonical lore events — which will be added to the When Is This? page as soon as I finish getting a table set up and formatted — I noticed that Garrosh mentioned being 34 years old in one post that, in the world of the blog, would have taken place in November, then later noted that he was 35 years old in a post that took place in February. This meant that Garrosh’s birthday would probably be either in December or January, and since my own birthday falls on December 17, I figured, what the hell, I’ll give Garrosh that birthdate too. Shortly thereafter, an Ask.fm question prompted me to do a little research on famous people who shared my birthday. One notable I discovered who was born on December 17 was actor Bernard Hill, who, in addition to playing Theoden in the Lord of the Rings movies (dock yourself 20 nerd points if you needed me to tell you that), is also the in-game voice actor for one Tirion Fordring. And from there…well, really, those last couple dots just connect themselves.)
  • Thanks to regular commenter (and unofficial blog historian) Shen Wei, Tirion Fordring has a presence on Twitter as @HighlordFordrin. Yes, you read that right. Tirion on Twitter. The 140-character-limit jokes practically write themselves.

tirionprofile1

In his own words:

Describe your relationship with your mother or your father. Was it good? Bad? Were you spoiled rotten, ignored? Do you still get along now, or no?

Greetings and good day, my friend! A pleasure to have your company this fine afternoon in Heathglen! Far too few visitors have graced these halls in recent days — not always so, I assure you! There was once a time — not long ago, in fact, but soon after I made my return from Northrend to take my place once again in Mardenholde Keep — when travelers would frequent Hearthglen, and these halls would sing with the raucous voices of fellowship! But strangely, my friend, most strangely, those voices have of late grown fewer and less frequent, as these past few years, for reasons unknown surely to any but the sagest seers, fewer and fewer visitors have found their way to these gates. Do not misunderstand me, of course, good pilgrim; a regular stream of adventurers still make their way here — often at the behest of my friend and colleague Nathaniel Dumah — drawn in equal measure from the peoples of the Alliance and Horde alike, offering their most-welcome aid to our noble efforts here. Nevertheless, their numbers grow few, and often transient, arriving in haste and departing just as swiftly, caught up, no doubt, in the rush and tumult to which youthful fervor is predisposed; and so our halls grow strangely quiet, our streets peculiarly empty of the visitors who once passed routinely within these walls. Surely not, however, for the lack of a warm welcome to be found here in Hearthglen, I assure you, my friend! To which you yourself, I hope, might attest! And even not, dear visitor, you may rest assured that I will endeavor personally to amend such failings before your time here as my guest has come to a close. A time, I can only hope, that will not run its course too quickly!

But now, I fear, I may have gone briefly astray of your original inquiry. But you will, I trust, forgive me my preamble, born as it was of the enthusiasm of a delighted host! Now then, to your question! What was our topic again, my friend?

Oh. Um… your relationship with your mother and father?

Ah yes! I recall it now! So you care to hear of the Fordring line that came before me! Quite the yarn to be spun, I can assure you, my friend, as the Fordrings, I will have you know, were present among the earliest of settlers to make their way north from the kingdom Arathor to lay the foundation of what would in time become Lordaeron. My kin arose from humble beginnings, as did many noble houses of their day, but thus began the story of a family line which, if you will forgive the brief immodesty of familial pride, may now lay claim to a legacy to rival those of some of the most celebrated houses on our time. Alas, my friend, it is a legacy that now nears its end, as — with the tragic passing of my beloved, departed son Taelan — I now stand as the last of the line of Fordrings. I do not ask your pity, though, good sir. All great stories must of necessity find their end — and I assure you I have every hope that my own chapter is yet far from its final pages! Regardless, I know you are not here to hear of endings, and no endings will you be forced upon you! Beginnings, then! The beginning of our tale, of the House of Fordring, a story — nay, a saga! — that now spans well past a thousand years! A thousand years, my friend! Can you fathom it? Such spans of time must tax the imagination of even the greatest of mortal minds, at least among we races who are so short-lived. Surely to the night elves — my esteemed aide Miss L’Rayne proudly among their number — this millennium-long expanse might seem as fleeting as a summer afternoon, and yet, to we more mortal beings? An endless expanse, long enough to encompass the rise and fall of empires and string together generations by the dozen. And so allow me to grace you, as per your inquiry, some small sampling of those generations: the line of Fordrings as they reach out across a thousand years! Again I ask you, my friend, can you imagine it? A thousand years of Fordring!

I think I’m beginning to understand what that would be like.

Hah! Indeed! Then yours is a keener intellect than mine, my friend! Often have I pondered the vastness of history, and equally often have I found my mind incommensurate to the task of grasping its enormity. But then, I labor under no delusions: I am an educated man, good fellow, but I do not presume to count myself among the great thinkers of our day. Perhaps history will count you among them, eh? Perhaps so! It would not surprise me in the least, noble scholar, for I see in you the quiet focus that oft accompanies great minds: you speak little, and think much! Is it not so? Indeed, I count myself fortunate to have found myself, by serendipity, in the company of many such minds.

And so, let us begin, let us not? The day grows short, and we have centuries of history to discuss! And so, to the beginning, and the mighty realm of Arathor!

Actually, this question was really just about your parents.

Ah! I see, I see — and here you prove me right, my friend! The focused mind of the scholar you do indeed possess, training with marksman-like precision upon the key object of your inquiry! It is a discipline of mind that serves you well in your studies, my friend; I myself would make a path through libraries and symposia that would surely prove more discursive. A credit to you! Yet if you would indulge an old man his musings, might I urge you in your pursuits to be wary of too great a focus, a narrowing of vision so intent as to cause all the world around you to fall away. My own dear uncle Lucius, I’ll have you know, fell victim to just such proclivities; he was a scholar in his own right, in his day, though he fell victim to misfortune ere he could complete such research as might be remembered. He, too, was ever focused on his studies: toiling night and day over tomes and scrolls; scrying into the records of the past in tireless search for hidden clues to unfathomable puzzles; never wavering, never relenting, until, at last, from too long reading and too short sleeping, my poor, dear uncle finally lost his grasp on reality, and spent his remaining days rambling through the world chasing bats and railing against windmills. His is, indeed, a tragic but fascinating tale in its own right, one which I suspect you may well find instructive. I recall all too well the final days of our interaction, when he lived near Andorhal, not far from this very place.

I’tirionprofile3m sure that’s fascinating and all, but… your parents.

Hah! Well played, good sir, well played! You catch an old man once again in his departures into memory. For such is the burden of so long life, is it not, my friend? The ease with which one may yield to the temptation of memory, to wander wistfully back to revisit a life well-lived. Ah, but I forget myself now, for I see your eyes yet glimmer with the brightness of youth, though I suspect I may yet catch as well the momentary, ephemeral shadow of hardship. Such is the burden for us all, is it not, my friend, all of us who have lived through the mounting troubles of our troubled age? Dark days, my noble scholar. Yet hope endures for a world we might yet build.

In any case, your question deserves an answer. Let me turn now, at last, to the crux.

Oh thank goodness.

My parents were modest in means but noble in mien. As I have alluded to, our family had been among the earliest of Arathi settlers to undertake the sojourn north into the land that would come be known as Lordaeron — ah, fear not, my friend; I see the shadow of vexation fall over your eyes, but I assure you no harm befell them during the trek, and while the details of their travels could spin into many a captivating a yarn in their own right, I must surely for not stay the course with the matter at hand. You shall not lure me into digression, my friend, so for now you must need content yourself with noting down points for subsequent inquiry! I commend you, though, for your obvious fascination — ah, your curiosity recommends you, good sir.

Now where was I? Oh yes! My parents were the most recent of tradesmen and craftsmen in the Fordring line — occasionally taking arms in defense of the kingdom, but, while serving with honor and distinction, never garnering acclaim for heroic deeds of particular note. Nevertheless, we were an honored family, respected, and while never affluent, my parents never wanted for the necessities, nor indeed some modest few of the pleasantries, of life. Just so, I cannot say I knew want as a child, though in retrospect I likewise cannot say I was showered with material things — the world, it seemed, furnished me with toys and diversions enough, without my needing to pester my parents to secure me others from the local shops. That, I suppose, was an austerity of nature instilled in me by my mother, Talya, who I recall would often remark on the misguided avarices that often plagued the ambitious: that the sense of one’s own happiness oft would rise from comparison between the measure of what one has, against what one wants; and that far too many of us err in thinking that the key to their contentment lies in maximizing the former, when in truth the key is minimizing the latter.

Clearly, of course, good fellow, I did not fully apprehend the wisdom of my mother’s words — hardly was I a deep thinker as a child. Indeed, one might yet argue, hardly am I one now! Hah! I see the look in your eyes, my friend, and know that I have beaten you to the jest! Hah again, I say! Well played again, sir!

Where was I?

Well, I think that pretty much covered–

Ah yes! My parents! And so, my dear, departed mother instilled in my a modesty of want that, I am sure, forestalled in me any sense of limitation in our means. My father, meanwhile, the late sir Delvin Fordring, took pains to teach me of duty and honor, and the kinship of all mortal souls. It was he who instilled in me an understanding of the fine line that separates even the most fortunate from the least, and the resulting shared duty that unites us all in turn. For we are all our brother’s keeper, are we not, my friend? And just so, under my father’s influence — aside perhaps from the earliest of youthful misjudgments, which, I assure you, Father was only too quick to correct, with no small degree of sternness — even before I had reached my teenage years, more than one would-be schoolyard bully had found his nose bloodied at my still-growing hands. I recall, indeed, on more occasion than one, returning home bearing on my own person the unmistakable marks of scuffle; to which Father’s only inquiry would be “Whose bruises would they have been, if not yours?”; to which — provided my truthful response: one smaller, one weaker, one set upon by an assailant against whom they could pose no defense — his only judgment would be “Then wear them well.” It would be the sense of duty and compassion instilled in me by both my parents in kind that would send me, soon enough, into service in the defense of Lordaeron. Would that they were still with us, to witness the world that yet we — I — strive to build in their memory, in their honor, a lasting tribute to their guidance.

So… Are you…finished?

My friend? Did I omit some salient detail you had hoped to glean from my youth? By all means, sir, if you feel some facet remains overlooked in my haste to expedite the tale–

No, no, that’s fine. I should probably get to the next question.

By all means! The night is young, and I am, of course, at your disposal, my friend, for however long I might be of aid to you!

Right… I kind of figured. Okay, so…next question:

Name one scar you have, and tell us where it came from. If you don’t have any, is there a reason?

I am a veteran of many battles of many wars, my friend — too many, indeed, for who but a fool or a monster would wish upon this world further bloodshed, when far too great a toll in lives has been paid, sacrificed upon the ill-begotten altar of all our foolish vanity? Who would seek such a thing? None, I tell you, good scholar — at least none that I should ever wish to find in my company. Not a problem we find here now between us, though, eh, my friend? None indeed! For I look into your eyes and know that we are two of a kind, bound in fellowship by our shared desire for the prosperity of our world, and the final attainment of that precious peace that has long — too long — eluded us.

Now, my friend, as to your question: scars, you ask! Scars indeed, good author, for after all the many days that I have spent awash in the conflicts of our age, many are the marks upon my person that I have taken with me as trophies, mementos of time spent amid the sober work of battle. I see that you, too, bear such trophies — you have seen a battle or two in your day as well, eh, my friend? A shame that fate has deemed it necessary, and yet an honor to know what such valiant souls as yourself yet walk among us.

tirionprofile2Okay. So we’ll put you down for “several scars but no particular stories”–

I beg to differ, good sir! No stories? No stories indeed! Ah, you have a fine sense of humor about you, and, rest assured, I appreciate your kind effort to spare an old man the need to delve into memories that, I suspect, you fear may be too painful to recount. Rest assured, though, my friend, after the horrors I have beheld in my day, a mere jaunt down the dusty halls of memory shall offer no such deterrent! A tale you requested, my good fellow, and so a tale you shall have!

Oh no…

Ah, it was a dark time, my friend. Dark indeed, and perilous, though I suspect I need not remind you — all too well do all remember the shadow that stretched its hand across two worlds, in the days of the Second War. When the demons’ poison coursed through the veins of the orcs — even those of my dear friend Eitrigg, as honorable a man as ever I might hope to know — whose acquaintance, perhaps, we share, my friend? but again I digress — yes, when the demons’ curse poisoned the orcish race and set them on their ill-fated rampage across their world and ours, when the Horde of old twice swept across Lordaeron, laying waste to all they met. We fought them, my friend; we nearly fell, on more occasions than one, as we struggled to hold them back, until finally we drove them back to their stronghold at Blackrock Mountain, and there, on the mountainside, we matched blades with our enemy one final time for the fate of our world.

I was there, my friend. I fought at Blackrock Spire, and saw such sights as I dare not repeat — indeed, such horrors as I might pray to wipe clean from my own aging recollection. For such are the horrors of war, are they not? The loss of life, the suffering uncountable, the nightmares forever seeded. The waste. Would that we might never see its like again, my friend; we speak at times of the glory of battle, but one need only sample its acrid taste once to understand such glimmer only exists in the imaginings of those not forced into war’s midst.

Right, so, war is bad.

Bad! Bad, you say, sir? Such understatement! I should hope a scholar of such obvious attainment should command words more fitting, for hardly does “bad” even suffice! And yet, sir — yet! — I would not wish words further from you, lest they should conjure more acutely recollection of such evils in their fullest form! For surely, all who partook in those dark days, those grisly hours of battle, spent many a year thereafter scarcely able to sleep soundly, for all the restless nights that dreadful dreams must have forced upon them. Even I, who was no stranger to battle even ere those times, was not immune to such things, and recall uneasily the weeks and months that followed, left alone to grapple with the haunting knowledge of what I had beheld.

Well, I don’t want to bring up bad memories for you, so–

The sky was angry that day, my friend! Angry and dark, overcast with portentous clouds, the air heavy with mist and dank with the stench of carnage.

Or not. Okay.

For hours — so many countless, unrelenting hours, my friend — we battled on the slopes of Blackrock Mountain, clawing our way, inch by inch, ever closer to the enemy’s stronghold. Do I say hours? They seemed as days, or weeks; nay, time itself lost near all meaning as the toil of battle weighed down upon us. And yet we did not tire, sir! Despite the wounds and blows, despite the ever-mounting aching of limbs taxed far beyond their limits, even still we pressed on, fought on, for we knew all too well what hung in the balance!

As the dark cloud gathered overhead, we marched upon Blackrock and fought our way past wave upon wave of enemy troops. There with us fought the great Alexandros Mograine, eventual bearer of the Ashbringer, the holy blade which even now I wield in his memory and honor — would that he were still with us, my friend, and not felled in the years that would follow by the vilest act of treachery. But that is a story for another day, sir — indeed, for another day, and you shall not sway me to digress from the tale at hand! Try though you might, you shall not delay me from the true object of my narrative!

Trust me, I won’t try.

As well you should not, my friend! For it is your very question that set me on this path, and you shall now lead me astray before I have forged on to a proper answer! I owe you no less, as my honored guest!

Now where was I? Oh yes!

While Alexandros rallied our troops to buttress our western flank, he briefly dropped his guard and left his back vulnerable to the attack of a charging ogre. Before the vile creature could land his blow, however, I interceded, blindsiding the ogre in turn and felling him with a piercing strike through the back of his neck. The ogre collapsed to the ground, and Alexandros and I exchanged words of camaraderie as he rode off to resume his efforts at the flank — but as he departed, and I called forth some few final words of encouragement, I found myself falling prey to the self-same error that nearly claimed the life of my friend. For I, as well, had failed to maintain proper vigilance, and a second ogre — perhaps a friend of the one whose life even still bled forth onto the field of battle — bore down upon me from behind. Surely, though, the Light was watching over me, as the ogre landed a blow that wounded but did not kill: his bulky club caught my back, just at the shoulder, with one spike digging deep into flesh. I managed to gather myself and engage my monstrous attacker, and with no small difficulty, smote his ruin upon the mountainside. Nevertheless, his blow had left its mark; my left shoulder carries a deep scar even to this day, and now and again, even to this day, I occasionally feel the lingering effect of the injury, as two fingers of that hand will sometimes lose sensation. A small price to pay, nevertheless, for the safety of our people, our homes — one that I would gladly pay again, with interest, should circumstance ever demand it.

Okay. Well, I think that covers everything…

Indeed, my friend? But surely there was more you wished to ask. Why, even now I see you still have several pages of your notes right there — questions, doubtless, for our continued interview. Hardly would I rush you through your efforts, or, worse still, force you to curtail the inquiries you’ve traveled so far to pursue! We shall have no such incivility here, good sir! I would never forgive myself such a misstep.

No, that’s really okay. Those notes are for something else.

Ah, I see — forever juggling projects, isn’t it just the way, my friend? The burdens of necessity, no doubt; I know myself that I can scarcely find the time to give my many varied tasks the time they’re due — oftentimes I’ve scarcely completed dictating my daily correspondence when it seems at though the whole of the day has begun to slip away. Ah, world enough and time!

Right. So… do you happen to know where Daria went? I think she said something about getting a drink at a tavern.

 

Previous Profiles:

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

 

daria_tavern1

Daria’s Pro Tip for Dealing with Tirion #3: Beer is your friend. It’s your very, very best friend.

 

 

The future never happened

hillsbrad

The time portal was more dizzying than usual, but when we finally emerged on the other side, there it was – Hillsbrad, just like it looked a few months ago. Ten years ago. A lifetime ago, it seemed, and for all that’s happened, maybe it was. It was early in the morning, and the first rays of sunlight were just starting to peek through the trees.

At one point while we made our way toward Southshore, Edwin asked if it was a good idea for us to be taking the road like we were. At first I didn’t realize what he meant – I thought he was worried we’d run into someone who would recognize him, but I figured we could always improvise a cover story if we needed to.

Then I looked at my hands.

I don’t know if something went wrong with the portal, or if maybe Soridormi was making such an effort to get the timeline crossing to work that she couldn’t bother with anything else, but when I came through, apparently, I wasn’t changed into a human form. I was still my normal (and let’s face it, dead sexy) orcish self.

So yeah, we got off the road and into the outskirts of the woods right quick, because the last thing we needed was some patrol to see an orc rolling around loose down the road from Durnholde like it was something to do.

We made our way down to Southshore and hung around the surrounding woods. It was still early in the morning, but we could see the first signs of activity as some of the townspeople started to emerge from their homes and tend to their livestock. We waited a while longer, and finally a few people came out of the inn – Alexandros Mograine, along with Fairbanks and Doan. They went around to the stables, carrying bags. The rest of the Silver Hands would be checking out soon.

I reminded Edwin that our opening could come any minute, and ran through the details I knew for probably the fifth time since we’d arrived: at some point the kid Herod would turn up with younger-hexed-Edwin, older-Edwin would sheep Herod and break younger-Edwin’s hex, older-Edwin would go invisible and bolt. Guy-who’s-with-me-right-now-Edwin (and wow am I getting sick of specifying) nodded all the way through, but I got the sense he was getting sick of me reminding him he’d only have a short post-hex pre-invis window.

Finally, after a few more minutes, a young boy came running up from the docks chasing a frog. He caught up to it just in front of the inn.

Herod was in position. It was almost go time.

Edwin didn’t need any prompting. As he started getting up to make his move, I shook his hand and wished him luck.

From the entrance to the inn, a second human named Edwin Faranell appeared.

The Edwin who’d come with me turned just long enough to shove a folded-up paper into my hand and say “Good luck to you, too,” and then he was off.

I didn’t even fully register the paper – I was too concerned with watching Edwin go, and I tucked it into my belt. While Edwin ran into town, I kept looking around, because let’s face it, this is US, and the universe wouldn’t let us get through something important without some kind of final infuriating wrinkle. Sure enough, the universe didn’t disappoint, because look who was riding toward town on horseback, from the northern road: Kel’Thuzad.

Right off I thought of about half a dozen ways KT could make a mess of this, most of them involving some variation of the phrase “Why are there two copies of that guy I know in front of the inn?” All I could think was Kel’Thuzad couldn’t be allowed the chance to spot Edwin. My head was too busy racing in circles to come up with much in the way of a clever plan on the fly, so I ran with what I know best: the simple approach.

I jumped out of the bushes, charged Kel’Thuzad, and knocked him off his horse before he could reach the town square. As soon as I was in plain sight, two of the town guards saw me and ran to intercept, yelling about an orc intruder. They were pretty weak, and I slapped back what passed for their attacks pretty easily, but I didn’t work too hard to put the smackdown on them. Let them pay attention to me. Let the whole town pay attention to me. Just for a few more minutes.

More shouting was coming from the town, and when I looked back over my shoulder, Mograine and his two Silver Hand flunkies were running up to help the guards. Doan stood back and tossed some fireballs at me – stung a little, but nothing I couldn’t shrug off. KT, on the other hand…yeah, those frostbolts of his were no joke. Meanwhile, I had Mograine and Fairbanks and the two weak-ass guards swiping away at me from all sides.

I kept trying to look back at the inn, but in all the commotion, I couldn’t really see anything anymore. Then, while I was trading swings with Fairbanks, Mograine managed to grab me by my shoulderguard and spin me so I was facing the square, with my back to him.

And then a sharp, warm pain in my back.

It’s a funny thing. For all the bizarre distortions and traveling in time we’ve done, it’s the moment that has nothing to do with time magic that stands out – when time slows down for all its own mundane reasons, breaks down into flashes, reduces itself to images that come drop by drop.

Looking past the crowd in the square. Catching the shortest glimpse of a third Faranell appearing in front of the inn as if from nowhere.

The blur of my Faranell rushing toward the other two.

My eyes dropping to look at my chest. The blade of the Ashbringer, jutting out, coated with dark blood.

The fact that it didn’t even hurt nearly as much as I’d think it would. The thought that maybe that was still coming.

Looking back up, to the sight of flickering yellow cracks spreading silently in the air around the inn. A pulsing yellow ball of light swelling up without a sound, then bursting out in all directions.

And I remember looking down again at the sword bursting from my chest, and the blood coming in slow-motion spurts. And I remember, just as the wave of warm yellow light washed over me…I think I remember laughing.

The rest is darkness.

And then I woke up.

 

 

[Header image provided by Angelya from Revive and Rejuvenate, used here with permission and many thanks.]

 

Let’s do the time warp again

dalaran

It was late when we arrived in Dalaran. After the bunch of us got off the Windrunner, Dranosh ordered Drok to take his crew and report to Bolvar and the Argent Vanguard to help however much he could. As the ship made its departure, we got going to the Violet Citadel.

On the way, we passed through the center of the city. It was an eerie sight for me. In the middle of town, on the spot where there should have been the monument to the defeat of the Lich King, there’s a memorial honoring Tirion and the heroes who were lost with him in Icecrown Citadel. Liadrin stopped for a minute and offered a prayer for the fallen. Jaina. Dontrag and Utvoch. Saurfang.

A gnome was making his way around the city lighting all the lampposts when we arrived at the Violet Citadel. Rhonin was waiting for our arrival and was pacing around in the main hall like a restless animal. Liadrin started to break the news to him about Jaina, but Rhonin cut her off. I think he already knew, as soon as he saw us walk in without her.

He took us upstairs, where he summoned a portal for us to the Caverns of Time.

 

 

cavernsoftime3

People get so used to taking mage portals that before long they forget how disorienting they are at first. You’re in one place, then there’s a flash of light, and for half a second you’re nowhere. You feel this dizzying whoosh run through your whole body and you feel like you’re falling, and then all of a sudden you’re somewhere different. New sights, new sounds, new everything. After you’ve done it a few times, you learn to roll with it and regain your sense of direction quickly, but every so often, when you first arrive in a new place, something happens to throw you out of your routine and reminds you just how unsettling it can be.

The ground shook violently under our feet as we arrived at the Caverns of Time. Not even just the ground – the walls, the ceiling, somehow even the air seemed to shudder around us. Bronze dragons were racing around, and bunches of drakonids ran up the ramp toward the surface. Anachronos was rumbling around, barking orders, rallying the cavern’s defenders. I don’t think I’d ever seen him so animated. After a minute, he spread his enormous wings and flew up the winding passageway with a handful of bronze drakes close behind.

In the middle of the chaos, Chromie teleported in right on top of us, talking a million miles an hour, and finally ushered us back to Soridormi, near the Hillsbrad portal, before teleporting away again.

 

SORIDORMI: Thank the Titans you’ve made it. We don’t have much time.

GARROSH: Do I even want to ask?

SORIDORMI: The Legion must have pieced together what we might try to do, as I’d feared. They started their attack some hours ago. We’ve been holding them back, but the battle has been a costly one.

The entire cavern quakes as shouts echo from the surface passageway.

DRANOSH: Well, we brought you a present.

Dranosh steps back and gestures to Faranell, who is holding the Focusing Iris.

FARANELL: <handing the Iris to Soridormi> Will you be able to do it?

SORIDORMI: <nods> It will take me a few minutes to open the portal and stabilize it, but I can get you back to Southshore, yes.

DRANOSH: Wait, Southshore? What’s in Southshore?

LIADRIN: A very long story

GARROSH: Well now for the 50,000 gold question – what do we do when we’re back there?

MOKVAR: Please don’t tell me we have to go in and kidnap old-Edwin and switch him with young-Edwin but also do something with original-young-Edwin while we’re at it to make sure old-us don’t still grab original-young-Edwin by mistake, because, I mean, not enough aspirin in the world.

LIADRIN: Not to mention we would have to do something about the chameleon shard attunement in that case, if this Edwin doesn’t end up tending to it…

DRANOSH: Is there a reason why everyone but me seems to know what’s going on wherever it is we’re going?

LIADRIN: Honestly? Because everyone but you was there the first time.

GARROSH: We were all there before, Dranosh – the four of us, in old Southshore, about ten years ago. That’s how all of this started. That’s why the Legion and the Scourge are winning now.

LIADRIN: None of this was ever supposed to happen. It’s only happened this way because events in the past were altered, and have snowballed into what’s happening now.

DRANOSH: <blinking> Okay, I think I need a second here…

GARROSH: While you’re doing that… Sori? What’s the plan here?

SORIDORMI: I can get you to Hillsbrad the morning of the last day you were there. That’s when the disruption began. And ultimately, this rests on Edwin.

FARANELL: Oh great…

SORIDORMI: You’re right, Mokvar; trying to switch off versions of Edwin would be far too complicated and leave too much room for something else to go wrong…

The cavern shudders again, more violently.

GARROSH: Okay, this is sounding like we’re going for the simple approach. I’m a big fan of the simple approach.

SORIDORMI: Ordinarily, the one thing one must never do when traveling in time is to interact with oneself. In this case, though, that’s exactly what Edwin will need to do: force a crossing of timelines between both – or rather, all – versions of himself present in that time. If Edwin can make physical contact with both iterations of himself at once, it should short out the crossed lines and snap each version back to where he’s supposed to be.

LIADRIN: That last morning – that was when future-Edwin broke past-Edwin out of Mokvar’s hex.

MOKVAR: There’s our window. They’ll both be within a few feet of each other.

SORIDORMI: If he can do it, the shorting out should trigger both realities into resetting themselves and separating.

GARROSH: You get all that, Doc? Today’s your turn to save the world…

The ground shakes once again, and the cavern walls around the surface passage buckle. A handful of bronze dragons rush down into the cavern, with a swarm of demons close behind. Behind the initial wave of demon shock troops, Varimathras and Prince Malchezaar descend into the cavern.

CHROMIE: <calling out while circling around the cavern in dragon form> They’ve breached the cavern! Fall back and regroup! We have to hold them!

LIADRIN: Soridormi, do you need all of us to go back?

SORIDORMI: Edwin is the only one who has to go.

DRANOSH: <to Liadrin> I think that’s our cue for one last battle of the line.

Liadrin nods, draws the Ashbringer, and runs into a pack of terrorfiends, tearing through then with one spinning swipe of the blade.

<to Garrosh> This was your mission from the get-go, Overlord. Go see it through, and I’ll talk to you when it’s over.

Dranosh starts to turn to join the battle.

GARROSH: Dranosh!

Dranosh looks back. Garrosh looks at him in silence for a moment.

…Give them hell.

DRANOSH: <smirks> I don’t really think they’re running short. <starts running toward the demons> Now go be a hero – that’s an order!

Dranosh leaps into a group of felguards and bursts into a Bladestorm.

GARROSH: You’re the boss. Lok’tar, Warchief…

FARANELL: Soridormi… I’ll try my best at this, but even if it works…

Soridormi nods to Faranell and starts to channel a spell through the Focusing Iris into the time portal.

Well…Garrosh said that…the other me may have thrown off the timeline without even meaning to, just because of what he knew. But now me…I’ve seen so much, how do we know I won’t disrupt history all over again?

Soridormi reaches into a belt pouch and tosses a small tuber to Faranell.

SORIDORMI: This is a Nepenthe Root. Is grows only here in the Caverns of Time. Eat it once you’re through the time portal; it will take an hour or two to take effect. The root is a powerful purifier on the mind – its effects will ripple through your entire timeline, purging any memories out of synch with their natural timeframe.

GARROSH: It’s not going to oops-mindwipe him completely, is it?

SORIDORMI: No…the worst side effect he might experience would manifest itself as sporadic and random lapses of memory.

 

The demons continued flooding into the cavern while Dranosh, Liadrin, and the dragons fought to hold them at bay. A group of doomguards managed to get all the way back to the Hillsbrad portal with us. Mokvar, Edwin, and I managed to fight them off while Soridormi continued channeling her spell. Once they were dead, Mokvar pushed his notes into my hands and said to take care of Edwin while he helped the rest with the demons, and ran off into the fight.

I looked past Mokvar as he ran into the fray and saw Dranosh going toe-to-toe with Varimathras, then leaping up and sending a Mortal Strike tearing straight into the dreadlord’s throat. One more swing and he had Varimathras’ head off altogether. He caught it, spun around, and sent it flying at Malchezaar — pointed so that the dreadlord’s horns pierced straight through Malchezaar’s eyes.

The portal glowed brighter as Soridormi poured more magic into it. Then the ground shuddered again, and large chunks of the stone around the surface passage broke away. With a demonic laugh announcing his arrival, Kil’jaeden, Lord of the Burning Legion, stepped down into the Caverns of Time and started walking directly toward us.

Liadrin tore through at least twenty demons with one of her Divine Storms, and ran between Kil’jaeden and us. The demon lord extended his hand toward her, palm extended, and released a torrent of shadow magic. Liadrin held the Ashbringer over her head and projected a shimmering shield of holy magic around herself. The two stood there, facing each other down – Kil’jaeden kept pouring more power into his shadow torrent, Liadrin kept drawing on the Light and the power of the Ashbringer to hold it back. As she exerted herself more and more, a gleaming white light shone out of the Ashbringer and around her whole body – and after a moment, just as Soridormi called out to us that the time portal was ready, the glowing, pulsing light surrounding Liadrin sharpened into the shape of a naaru.

Liadrin looked back at us. Her eyes were white and glowing. For all the fighting and screaming and magic eruptions, I should never have been able to make out an individual voice, but just for a moment I could hear hers – in my head. It was accompanied by a musical chiming, and echoed by a second voice, one I’d heard but not quite heard once before…the voice of A’dal.

We can’t hold him forever.  GO!

I grabbed Edwin’s arm and pulled him through the portal as the ground shook and the walls quaked. The Caverns of Time disappeared in a dizzying rush of light, and the sounds of battle ringing in my ears faded into a memory of the future as I felt myself sliding back into the past.

I’ll see you on the other side.

 

Wrath of the Lich King

nexus

Show time.

The group assembled today on the Windrunner: me, both Saurfangs, Liadrin, Edwin, Jaina, Mokvar, Dontrag, and Utvoch. I figured the way the Scourge have swarmed through practically all of Northrend, I’d just as soon not leave anything to chance, which is why we brought so much heavy-artillery personnel. Drok and his crew had the ship ready to go, and we set off for the Nexus in Coldarra. Once we had the Focusing Iris, we’d head straight for Dalaran, where Jaina’s Kirin Tor friends would be ready to port us straight to the Caverns of Time.

We arrived at the Nexus and docked the ship on one of the upper ring platforms that was equipped with a teleportation orb. One problem: the platform was swarming with Scourge – all the platforms were. Vargul and skeletons mostly, with a couple necromancer types lurking around the back.

I’ll tell you, Mokvar was right the other day. This really wasn’t fair.

Between me whirlwinding through skeletons by the bushel, Liadrin Diving Storming her way right through the heart of them, Jaina flame-roasting undead in bunches, and – yup – Saurfangs Young and Old cleaving down everything in sight, it didn’t take us long to clear a path to the teleportation orb. The only down side was that those necromancers kept summoning more undead, and every so often a proto-drake would fly by and drop another damn vrykul to help keep the influx coming.

 

GARROSH: They’re not getting anywhere, but neither are we if we just stay up here all day killing these fuckers…

The necromancers cast another summoning spell, and some hundred new skeletons appear on the platform.

LIADRIN: <slashing by one of the vargul> We don’t all need to be up here – you go, I’ll stay and protect the ship.

GARROSH: You sure?  There’s still an awful lot of them.

Liadrin rushes into a cluster of vargul, dropping them all with another spinning Divine Storm. As she finishes her follow-through, she lands on one knee, slamming the Ashbringer down onto the platform floor; a shimmering flash of yellow-white light bursts from the Ashbringer and shoots out in a horizontal shockwave in all directions. The light rips through the skeletons and sends them spilling onto the floor, burning with holy fire. Still on one knee, Liadrin tilts her head up at Garrosh.

LIADRIN: I’m not worried.

Jaina runs to a clear area near the gunship and starts channeling a spell. A glowing blue runic circle begins to appear on the floor beneath her.

JAINA:  ’m placing a portal marker here. Once we have the Focusing Iris, I’ll be able to teleport us directly back.

Several more vargul drop onto the platform. While Liadrin engages them, several val’kyr and gargoyles descend down over the Windrunner.

SAURFANG: <rushing back to the gunship and cleaving through gargoyles> I’ll stay back as well to help guard the ship.

MOKVAR: Well now you’re just running up the score on them.

SAURFANG: The rest of you – go!

DRANOSH: You all heard the man. Let’s get moving.

 

We took the teleportation orb into the Nexus. The sight that greeted us froze us all in our tracks. Around the circular room and down every hall, the ground was littered with the lifeless bodies of blue dragons. We all just stared for a minute while the sight sunk in. I think it hit Jaina the hardest, what with her probably having had some dealings with the blues over the years. She knelt down over one of the dead dragons and put a hand over its face.

 

JAINA: This… I know her. This is… Her name is…was Kirygosa. She was a daughter of Malygos…

UTVOCH: Wait, when you said there were going to be a lot of dragons here, I thought you meant they were going to be alive.

GARROSH: …Seriously?

FARANELL: That’s got to be an act, right? I mean he can’t possibly really be that stupid.

MOKVAR: Dontrag and Utvoch: raising the bar on lowering the bar, since the dawn of time.

DONTRAG: Hey, I didn’t say anything!

GARROSH: Yet.

DRANOSH: <surveying the halls> Most of the… <glances back at Jaina, then lowers his voice slightly> …most of the blood seems fresh. Whoever did this did it fairly recently.

GARROSH: Probably still nearby.

Jaina stands slowly, still looking down at the bodies.

JAINA: Kalecgos considered her one of his dearest friends…

DRANOSH: The next time you see him, you can tell him all about the world of pain we brought down on the ones who did this to her.

GARROSH: It has to be the Scourge, based on upstairs. Not sure why they’d be coming after the blue dragons, though.

JAINA: At this point, they’re one of the only major powers left between them and all of Northrend… It was only a matter of time before they struck here.

GARROSH: That’s the thing, though – yeah, they have the Horde and Alliance on the ropes, but why wouldn’t they finish them off first, THEN take on the dragons? The Lich King has to know he’s got the upper hand. Why divide his efforts?

DRANOSH: Maybe he wants to finish both off quickly?

GARROSH: All the time we were up here fighting him, did you ever know Arthas to be impatient?

JAINA: He’s not. Anymore.

DRANOSH: <shrugs> Either way. I am the impatient type – let’s go find that Focusing Iris and let it be finished.

 

We made our way deeper into the Nexus, finding more slain dragons all the way. As we worked our way down a long, descending passageway, we could hear sounds of combat, and reptilian cries of pain. I ordered Dontrag and Utvoch to make sure they kept Edwin safe under pain of so-much-worse-than-death-your-admittedly-limited-brains-would-melt-just-trying-to-imagine-it. The bottom of the passage was dark and filled with shadows. As the floor leveled out from the end of our descent, we turned a corner and came to a doorway.

The room was large and circular, with crystalline patterns in the walls and floor, like so many of the other rooms here. In the center of the room, hovering in the air of its own accord, was the Focusing Iris – an enormous blue orb, glowing with arcane power. On the far side of the room, four humanoids – a human, a tauren, and a pair of dwarves – all wearing armor like that of a death knight, stood over bodies of blue dragons. More bodies filled the room, and the air reeked with the smell of draconic blood. Two more death knights, a draenei and a troll, flanked the doorway on either side, and as we came around the corner they called out a warning.

And as the sentries cried out, in the center of the room, out from behind the Focusing Iris stepped Tirion Fordring. Covered in spiked black armor, wielding a runeblade, eyes glowing a deathly pale blue. I’ll tell you, I was never crazy about Tirion, but this was still horrible to see. Even Tirion deserved better than this.

 

TIRION: <grinning broadly> Ah, how serendipitous! It appears fate has set us all upon a parallel venture, and I find myself reunited with personages of no small familiarity. I greet you all, good orcs and humans, and welcome you to the curtain’s rise on the final act of this grand endeavor!

GARROSH: By the spirits…

Tirion gestures to his minions.

DRANOSH: What?

Tirion’s Deathbringers rush at the group, blades poised.

GARROSH: He still loves to talk.

Jaina casts a Cone of Cold that slows the death knights’ approach.

DRANOSH: <shrugs> Time to do what we do. Lok’tar!

GARROSH: For the Horde!

DONTRAG and UTVOCH: For the Horde!

MOKVAR: For the Horde!

JAINA: Um, actually…

Jaina exchanges a shrug with Faranell.

Okay. Whatever.

Garrosh, Dranosh, Dontrag, and Utvoch rush forward to engage the Deathbringers, and the two groups battle back and forth, with Tirion lurking by the Focusing Iris, watching and taunting.

TIRION: Good, my glorious vassals, unleash your fury and show these intruders the fate that awaits those who would interfere with the work of our dread lord the Lich King! Woe be to any who stand against us! Their ruined bodies shall be the latest paving the way to our inevitable dominion over this world!

GARROSH: <exchanging blows with the tauren> The hell are you even HERE for, Tirion? What do you fuckers even want with the Focusing Iris?

TIRION: Well could I ask you the same, young Hellscream! But as it will profit you naught, I will tell you, so that you might meet your end knowing the full scope of your failure, and indeed the hand you and your ilk have had in bringing forth this very hour!

DRANOSH: <aside> That’s it, get him monologuing…

GARROSH: <aside> He’s going to be monologuing anyway, might as well get him going on something useful maybe…

Dranosh and Garrosh continue pushing back the tauren and human. Dontrag and Utvoch spar with the two dwarves, aided by chain lightning from Mokvar, while Jaina launches a seething fireball that incinerates the troll.

TIRION: Did you truly believe your ill-fated ploy to deny the Lich King your precious Sunwell would go unanswered? That the master of the Scourge would be halted by your sad, trifling magician’s tricks? You merely delayed the inevitable; and now, with the Focusing Iris in hand, the Lich King’s mightiest seers will shatter the meddlesome bubble conjured by that poor, doomed, suddenly so very solitary dragon Kalecgos—

Jaina lets loose another pair of fireballs, finishing the dwarven death knights fighting Dontrag and Utvoch.

JAINA: Kalcgos’ flight had no part in this war, Tirion! The old you – the real you – he would be sickened to see what you’ve done to these innocents!

TIRION: Oh, Lady Proudmoore, do not be so naïve as to think the blues innocent – or yourself. It was Kalecgos who chose to throw in his lot with your kind and aid in your foolish charade at the Sunwell, and all of you who interfered in the Scourge’s march. The Lich King was content to leave these pitiable lizards be – for now. It was you who forced his hand, you who altered his plans, you who made the Focusing Iris a necessary implement—

DRANOSHSpirits, he likes to talk…

GARROSH: Dude, you have NO IDEA.

TIRION: —and you, all of you, who helped bring this fate upon the Blue Dragonflight today! From their blood shall flow the coming of a new age for this world! From their deaths shall be forged a new future, bathed in carnage!

JAINA: <gathering a fiery glow in her hands> You want carnage? Arthas will have more blood than he ever bargained for!

Jaina unleashes a massive fireball that tears through the draenei death knight and badly burns the tauren and human – whom Dranosh and Garrosh quickly finish off – and hurls Tirion back against the far wall.

DRANOSH: Remind me not to piss her off.

GARROSH: No shit, right?

Tirion pulls himself up and faces the group.

TIRION: You all shall pay dearly for—

DRANOSH: <charging in and knocking Tirion a few steps back> Pro tip, Tirion – when your boys are taking it on the chin, might be a good idea to stop running your mouth for a minute and help them out.

Garrosh joins in, and Tirion begins scrambling to deflect both orcs’ blows.

TIRION: You think I fear you, boy? Through the Lich King I have seen power the likes of which you cannot comprehend! By his will I have cast off death itself, and risen anew, ascended, greater than I might ever have dreamed in my former, paltry, limited existence! You do not know what you trifle with, you—

As Dranosh and Garrosh unleash a flurry of blows from both sides, Jaina singes Tirion with a surge of flame, then freezes him in place with a frost nova, throwing off his footing.

GARROSH: Tirion…

Garrosh locks one of his axes in a parry with Tirion, then drops his second axe from his free hand and swings his fist under the runeblade and into Tirion’s gut.

Shut.

Garrosh breaks the parry, forcing Tirion’s blade hand to swing to one side, where Dranosh hacks it away at the wrist.

The fuck.

Garrosh and Dranosh bring their axes down from either side, slamming viciously into the base of Tirion’s neck.

UP!

Tirion slumps lifeless to the floor.

JAINA: <looking down sadly at the body> You have been missed, old friend. May your spirit finally find its rest now.

MOKVAR: Okay, let’s get what we came for and go.

JAINA: Let me get it into a more manageable form…

Jaina holds her hands out to the Focusing Iris and begins channeling beams of arcane magic into it. Slowly, the Focusing Iris shrinks until it has been reduced to a shimmering blue sphere about a foot in diameter, hovering in the air.

There…now we just need to—

Jaina is interrupted by a shadowy, purple tendril of magic that lashes out at her from the doorway and yanks her back toward it. Her body flies backward through the air and – with a hideous slicing sound – into a blade held out from the dark hallway:

Frostmourne.

As Dranosh steps in to catch the falling Focusing Iris, the Lich King strides into the room, Jaina’s body still impaled on the runebalde.

LICH KING: Impressive…

The Lich King shakes Frostmourne, dropping Jaina’s body to the ground.

Most impressive.

UTVOCH: Okay, this isn’t so bad, there’s just one of him against all of us…

The Lich King drives Frostmourne’s blade into the floor, releasing a shockwave that knocks the group back against the far wall of the room. As they recover, the Lich King hold Frostmourne aloft and begins channeling a spell.

LICH KING: Now then…a further test…

Crackling purple energy shoots out of Frostmourne in all directions. Slowly, the dozens of dragon corpses around the room begin to rise, eyes glowing a dull blue, bodies withered and gaunt.

GARROSH: Oh…shit…

DONTRAG: You really have to keep your mouth shut, Ut.

The nearest few reanimated dragons rush at them. Garrosh, Dontrag, and Utvoch step in to intercept them and start to fight them back, with Mokvar and Faranell casting spells at them from behind.

The Lich King continues channeling. After a few seconds, Jaina’s body rises from the floor; her hair has turned white save for a single blonde streak, and her eyes shimmer with a lifeless blue glow. She looks around the room, then faces the Lich King.

JAINA: A-Arthas…?

LICH KING: I have missed you…my Queen.

Jaina grins hideously, turns, and unleashes an enormous fireball that incinerates two of the dragons on its way toward Faranell.

DONTRAG: Doc!

UTVOCH: Look out!

Dontrag lunges at Faranell while Utvoch rushes in from the opposite side. Dontrag shoves Faranell out of the fireball’s path, just before the flames reduce both him and Utvoch to smoldering heaps of ash.

DRANOSH: Edwin! Jaina was our ride out. That’s your job now – port us out of here, and fast!

FARANELL: But— I’m not that powerful a mage!

Dranosh shoves the Focusing Iris into Faranell’s hands; a bluish white glow shimmers over his body.

DRANOSH: You are now. Fire it up!

Garrosh and Mokvar – both fighting dragons – back up toward Dranosh and Faranell. Faranell closes his eyes, mutters an incantation, and teleports the group away in a blinding flash.

 

We reappeared up on the ring platform where we’d docked – a few yards off from Jaina’s targeting rune, but hey, I’m not going to nitpick over a clutch save from Edwin. When we appeared, we were greeted by the sight of an enormous pile of Scourge corpses that formed a hill leading up to the Windrunner. Dozens of vargul, hundreds of ghouls and skeletons, val’kyr, geists, a couple frost wyrms…and sitting on top of the pile were Liadrin and Saurfang, taking turns drinking from a waterskin.

 

LIADRIN: <looks up at them> What kept you?

DRANOSH: We had guests.

GARROSH: Come on, everyone get on the ship.

SAURFANG: Where are the others? Lady Proudmoore, and the…cerebrally inexpansive duo?

GARROSH: They didn’t make it.

SAURFANG: What happened?

DRANOSH: Arthas is here.

LIADRIN: By the Light… Get on board, and quickly!

GARROSH: What happened to you not being worried?

LIADRIN: I wasn’t.

DRANOSH: Fire it up, Captain! Top speed to Dalaran!

The group boards the Windrunner, which disembarks from the platform. After a moment, the ship shakes and creaks, then begins to slide slowly backwards.

DRANOSH: Um, Drok? I don’t think I said anything about reverse.

DROK: We’re still on full ahead, sir, I don’t—

GARROSH: Uh, I think you guys might want to have a look at this…

They turn to look back at the ring platform, where the Lich King now stands, channeling a dark purple band of energy from his hand that grips the gunship, and using it to slowly tug the ship back toward the Nexus.

MOKVAR: He’s— he’s death-gripping the ship! How is he death-gripping the whole ship?!

DRANOSH: Drok, this would be a good time to give the engines a little extra – we’ve got to get out of here!

DROK: I’m giving them everything she’s got, sir! I can’t change the laws of physics!

Saurfang stands at the railing, watching as the Lich King slowly drags the gunship back toward him. Saurfang looks back at Dranosh, then to Garrosh.

SAURFANG: He’s looked out for you since you were children.

Garrosh gives a quizzical look, then nods.

Look out for him now.

Saurfang turns and launches himself off the deck, toward the platform below.

FOR THE HORDE!

Saurfang barrels into the Lich King and they both crash onto the floor. With the Lich King’s death grip broken, the gunship lurches forward again and starts to pull away from the Nexus.

DRANOSHFather! No!

Garrosh intercepts Dranosh as he rushes to the edge of the ship and pulls him back.

GARROSH: Get us OUT of here, Captain!

DRANOSH: <spinning back toward Drok, still in Garrosh’s grip> No! Turn us around, Drok, we have to—

Garrosh spins Dranosh back to face him.

GARROSHYou know what he’s doing! DON’T LET IT BE FOR NOTHING!

Dranosh stops struggling. Garrosh releases him, and as the gunship continues its escape, he walks to the railing and looks down at the platform, where the Lich King knocks Saurfang away from him.

LICH KING: Foolish old orc! You dare stand against me? Do you know how many of your kind I’ve slain?

SAURFANG: You…murdered…children. <draws his axe> You answer to Saurfang now!

Saurfang charges the Lich King furiously, cleaving and slashing with his axe. The Lich King parries with Frostmourne, and the two grapple back and forth as the platform shrinks from view.

 

I’m writing from the Windrunner now. We should reach Dalaran soon. I’ll update again when I can, if the news is good. If it isn’t, I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be here to keep updating.

In the meantime, we continue on our way to Dalaran.

In silence.

hordegunship

 

 

[Header image of the Nexus provided by regular reader and commenter ZugZug. Gunship image provided by Rioriel from Postcards From Azeroth; click here to see the souped-up Postcard version! Both images used with permission and many thanks.]

 

Time isn’t after us

soridormi

{Previously on The Warchief’s Command Board…well, here. Go read it yourself and get caught up. We don’t have bandwidth for fucking previouslies.}

 

Garrosh looks around again.

GARROSH: So…much less crowded all of a sudden…

LIADRIN: Hmm. Just us three at the Caverns of Time?

SORIDORMI: <nods> Your counterparts in this timeline had come here on…related but different business.

GARROSH: Wait, our COUNTERPARTS?

SORIDORMI: <nods> For lack of a better word.

LIADRIN: Oh, I think I’ve read about this… <looking around again> I never thought I would experience it first-hand, though…

GARROSH: Okay, so since everybody seems to understand this but me, could SOMEONE please explain what the fuck is going on?

SORIDORMI: You’re caught in the backwash of Edwin’s temporal instability.

GARROSH: Yeah, there’s not one single part of that sentence that was helpful.

SORIDORMI: The flashes you’ve been experiencing have all corresponded to Faranell’s time shifts. Every time he’s jumped to another point in his timeline, you have been shifting into…well, here.

LIADRIN: An alternate timeline.

GARROSH: So how come the Noz didn’t notice this? And where is he, anyway? How come he missed this kinda major part of what’s going on?

SORIDORMI: Nozdormu can see the disturbances surrounding Edwin’s displacement in time easily enough, but the intermingling of realities occurring in the background is a bit…beyond his perception.

GARROSH: But it’s not beyond yours? No offense, but I thought the Noz was the one with the super-uber-heightened time perception.

SORIDORMI: <sighs, then smiles> Believe me, I’m not the first woman ever to let her husband go on thinking he was the smart one for the sake of his fragile ego.

Liadrin chuckles briefly.

MOKVAR: So are we the only ones shifting into this timeline? Why us?

SORIDORMI: Yes and no. You’re not the only ones toggling realities, but you are the only ones who have started to retain your memories of one timeline when you move to the other. Those of you who were with Edwin in Southshore have been left with a sort of temporal residue that’s making it possible for you to bridge the gaps between realities.

GARROSH: Okay…I think I’m starting to get this… So in that case…

Mokvar starts chuckling, quickly descending into raucous laughter.

Um, dude, what’s so funny?

MOKVAR: <still laughing> No, sorry, I’m just thinking…since this is affecting all of us from Southshore… I’m just imagining Utvoch trying to figure out what the hell is going on…

Mokvar falls into another fit of laughter. Garrosh thinks for a moment, his eyes widening and a broad grin spreading across his face as he does, then starts laughing as well.

GARROSH: Oh…oh man…that’s just…ha ha HAA!

LIADRIN: Um, Garrosh? Don’t you think we should…?

GARROSH: <still laughing> Oh SHIT!

MOKVAR: <doubled over> Hahaha…what?

GARROSH: <starts to lean on Mokvar for support amid chortles> Can you…can you imagine him trying to explain this shit to Dontrag?

MOKVAROHHHH! HAHAHA!!

GARROSH: Can’t you just see them? “I think I was somewhere else,” “No you weren’t, you were right here,” “Yeah, I was here, but you weren’t,” “I was too here,” “No you weren’t, I was here only it was somewhere else here, and you were gone,” “Are you sure I wasn’t here?” “I think so.” “Huh, I wonder where I went…”

MOKVAR: <gasping for breath and leaning back against Garrosh> Stop! You have to stop! Hahahaha!

Liadrin turns back to Soridormi and rolls her eyes.

LIADRIN: Boys will be boys.

Soridormi shrugs and nods. Garrosh and Mokvar carry on laughing.

SORIDORMI: Sadly, so will grown men.

LIADRIN: At any rate… I understand that our connection to Edwin is allowing us to retain our awareness of this timeline, but I’m still not sure why these shifts are happening to us.

SORIDORMI: It all comes back to Edwin, in more ways than one.

LIADRIN: His own displacement in time, as Nozdormu was saying, obviously…

GARROSH: Okay, okay, we’re done now. <chortle>

SORIDORMI: That was the start of it, yes. And then, beyond that…this alternate reality was created when your Edwin caused…certain changes in the past.

LIADRIN: Oh no.

GARROSH: What did he do? In his letter he said he remembered everything he did and said, and he would make sure he repeated it all.

SORIDORMI: I have little doubt that he did. And it strikes me as unlikely he even made these changes deliberately, or at least consciously.

GARROSH: Then what did he change?

Soridormi holds out one hand. A small, glowing, blue-tinted image of Patrick Faranell appears above her upturned palm.

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

SORIDORMI: I believe you’ve met Edwin’s brother, Professor Patrick Faranell.

LIADRIN: Oh no… I think I know where this is going…

SORIDORMI: In your original timeline, Patrick was killed during the Scourge invasion of Silvermoon. In this reality, however, he never went to Silvermoon. He survived.

GARROSH: That…sounds like a pretty major crapping all over Edwin’s whole “I won’t change history” pledge.

SORIDORMI: I doubt he did it deliberately. Even if he remembered everything he ever said to his brother, repeated it all word for word…don’t underestimate the influence of a simple change of inflection, a tone of voice, a facial expression… Even if he’d read all his lines, knowing what he knew, Edwin could easily have planted the doubts that would steer his brother away from harm.

GARROSH: Seriously. He couldn’t keep himself reined in, knowing how important it was?

SORIDORMI: Garrosh, could you look a loved one in the face, knowing death was upon them, and be completely certain you wouldn’t let a hint of it into your voice?

GARROSH: Okay…fair enough. So, now we have one extra friendly dorky guy wandering around. So what?

SORIDORMI: Had he met his end in Silvermoon, Patrick was fated for…a different path.

Soridormi waves her hand, and the image of Patrick Faranell is replaced by a shimmering image of Professor Putricide.

IMAGE OF PUTRICIDE: Good news, everyone! I think I perfected a plague that will destroy all life on Azeroth!

GARROSH: The hell…

SORIDORMI: Patrick would be risen into undeath, unbeknownst to his brother in Dalaran. The Lich King would take notice of his keen alchemical mind, and install him – in his new identity of “Professor Putricide” – as his chief alchemist and researcher in Icecrown Citadel.

GARROSH: Okay…I’m really starting to worry about why this becomes important…

LIADRIN: Dominoes…

SORIDORMI: With no Putricide in existence, Arthas’ attention in those early days would turn in a different direction…

Soridormi waves her hand again. The image of Professor Putricide flickers out and is replaced by the likeness of Grand Apothecary Putress.

putress

IMAGE OF PUTRESS: Did you think we had forgotten? Did you think we had forgiven?

SORIDORMI: I believe you are both familiar with the work of Grand Apothecary Putress, previously of Sylvanas’ Royal Apothecary Society.

LIADRIN: By the Light…

SORIDORMI: The Lich King chose Putress for the role that would have gone to Putricide – replacing one master alchemist with another, albeit perhaps a more ruthless one.

GARROSH: So, what, did Putress come up with some invention for Arthas, or…?

LIADRIN: Garroh, no… Think…the Wrathgate

GARROSH: Oh… OH…

MOKVAR: Oh shit…

SORIDORMI: <nodding> With Putress in Icecrown Citadel rather than the Undercity, there was no coup against Sylvanas. There was no betrayal at the Battle of the Wrathgate. Dranosh Saurfang survived, as did Bolvar Fordragon. While the Lich King survived to fight another day, driven back into his fortress, the assault on the Wrathgate was regarded as a great victory – for Alliance and Horde alike. Bolvar would use that success, along with his newfound friendship with Saurfang the Younger, to persuade Varian Wrynn to reconsider his stance on relations with the Horde.

Soridormi waves her hand again. Above her upturned palm, a glowing likeness appears of Thrall and Varian Wrynn shaking hands.

The Alliance and Horde would sign the Dalaran Accords some weeks later. The war between Alliance and Horde was ended.

GARROSH: <sneers at the image> Fuck you, Varian.

MOKVAR: You know that’s not really him, right?

LIADRIN: Peace between the Horde and the Alliance… All those lives spared at the Wrathgate… And…

Liadrin looks down at the Ashbringer in her hands.

SORIDORMI: A number of other rather important events have…played out differently.

GARROSH: Like the fact that with Dranosh still alive, when it came time for Thrall to name an acting Warchief…

Soridormi nods.

And then… Cairne… By the spirits…when Hamuul’s druids were attacked by the Twilight’s Hammer…

MOKVAR: Cairne wasn’t as quick to think Dranosh was responsible, like he was with you?  So that means…

GARROSH: There was never a duel. Cairne…never died. I never… He never died.

MOKVAR: This is all…I don’t even know what to call it. But, crazy as it all is…why is this timeline mixing with ours at all?

LIADRIN: Edwin. It’s all about Edwin…

SORIDORMI: <nods> These divergent timelines aren’t uncommon. There are countless events in your history that have produced alternate realities. But what’s different here is your friend. The split in realities was caused by Edwin averting his brother’s death. But it’s also Edwin who’s become unstuck in time. He’s spawned an entire universe in which he does not belong; he’s out of time, and time itself wants him back. It’s pulling him back and forth, and pulling the other reality into ours in the process. Edwin has become a shatter point in time, and the walls between realities are cracking around him. Eventually, the other timeline – the one we’re in now – will bleed through into ours.

LIADRIN: He’ll never even realize any of this is happening, will he? It’ll just happen while he’s off at other points in time.

SORIDORMI: Difficult to say. Though it wouldn’t surprise me if the timelines eventually converge to the point that he begins to remain here with you.

MOKVAR: Still trying to wrap my head around this…

SORIDORMI: It is much to absorb, I know.

MOKVAR: But…what do we do now?

SORIDORMI: Reality will continue to crack around Edwin until the timelines converge and this one, essentially, replaces ours, unless we can return both Edwins to where they belong and restore the original timeline.

LIADRIN: I suspect that won’t be quite as simple as running back through the portal to old Hillsbrad.

SORIDORMI: <shakes her head> Crossing your own timelines will be a dangerous proposition, and one that will take a tremendous focusing of magic. There’s much we’ll need to do here to prepare, and even then, there’s the small matter of getting this Edwin here at a point when he isn’t…elsewhere. Not to mention convincing him of the necessity of going back.

LIADRIN: I suppose we’ll just need to do what we can we can can erif we eht can do ma can i tub can what em semusnoc what taht erif a si ti regit eht ma i tub em hold selgnam taht regit a si ti revir eht the ma i tub gnola em speews taht line revir a si emit edam ma i we hcihw fo we ecnatsbus what we eht what si what emit what what we what we can to get ready.

NOZDORMU: Indeed.  Chronormu, go speak with Erozion about a possible return incursion to Hillsbrad.

CHROMIE: Sure thing, captain.

Chromie teleports out. Garrosh, Liadrin, and Mokvar exchange uneasy looks both at each other and at Faranell – who likewise looks around uncomfortably. Soridormi, standing half a step behind Nozdormu, watches them and raises a single finger to her lips.

TIRION: Dr. Faranell? Are you all right? You seem out of sorts suddenly.

FARANELL: Yeah…um…

EITRIGG: It happened again, didn’t it?

NOZDORMU: <narrows his eyes, looking at Faranell grimly> Yes. It would appear so.

Faranell nods and sighs.

LIADRIN: Where were you this time, Edwin?

FARANELL: It was…a large, sprawling city, built into the mountains of a bright, orange-stoned desert. There were…orcs and trolls everywhere… Was… It was Orgrimmar, wasn’t it?

MOKVAR: Sounds like it.

GARROSH: Well, Doc, I don’t know if you were just in your past, but Orgrimmar is definitely in your future. You’re coming back with us, where we can watch out for you while we figure this thing out.

TIRION: A wise choice, mostly likely, my good Warchief. Upon our return to Hearthglen, I will have Daria make arrangements with the good doctor’s family to have whatever effects he might require transported to Orgrimmar.

GARROSH: Good deal. Don’t…um…don’t feel like you need to deliver them personally. Some plain ol’ couriers will do fine.

TIRION: If…you say so, Warchief…

NOZDORMU: In the meantime, I will see about making what preparations we can here.

GARROSH: Yeah. Thanks, Noz.

Nozdormu nods solemnly and walks off.

SORIDORMI: I should go assist Nozdormu. <looks slowly from Garrosh to Liadrin to Mokvar> I suspect I will see you all again, in due time.

 

We’re back in Orgrimmar now with Faranell. I’m going to have him assigned quarters somewhere he can be comfortable — well, as comfortable as a human can be in a city full of orcs — and we can keep an eye on him at all times. Not sure where we go from here, but I want him close just in case. Right now I’ve got a lot to think about…

More soon.

 

daria

“Daria’s Pro Tip for Dealing with Tirion #8: Do not wear black mageweave leggings. Ever. Ever.”

 

Dying of the light

adalliadrin

I haven’t talked about this much, but ever since Cromush and his people recovered that light crystal fragment from Southshore a few weeks ago, I’ve been in contact with Liadrin about it. At first I let her hold it for safekeeping, since she was there from the get-go, and she seemed to have a better handle on what it was and what it can do than any of the rest of us. Since then, she’s kept it with her up in Quel’thalas.

Not long after I handed it off to her, she brought it with her on one of her trips up to the Sunwell, so she could compare it with the holy energy radiating from the Sunwell ever since it was reignited by M’uru’s spark. She says the two have basically the same feel, only that the fragment isn’t as potent. Liadrin is pretty much convinced that the original dark crystal was the spark of a dying naaru, which the Knights of the Silver Hand partially restored by pouring holy magic into it. Which means, now, that she believes the fragment she’s holding is a piece of a naaru’s soul.

Liadrin contacted me earlier this week and said she thinks that rather than holding the fragment, we should return it to the naaru, since it’s basically the spiritual remains of one of their own. At first I wasn’t so sure about this – considering what we’d seen these crystals do, they could be incredibly useful against the Scourge or any other undead threats that might come along. But then I got to thinking about what she says the fragment actually is – and, more importantly, thinking about the reason I was hesitant to give it up: basically I’d be saying we should hold the spirit of a once-living being captive, to leverage as a weapon against our enemies, rather than letting its kin lay it to rest, or do whatever they do with their dead.

I’ve been on the other side of that scenario. Not long ago. And I may be a lot of things, but I outright refuse to become THAT.

So, I ended up agreeing to her suggestion. Liadrin said the best option was to bring the fragment to A’dal himself, and she invited me to go with her for the trip. So yesterday morning I met up with her and had one of our mages portal us directly to Shattrath.

It wasn’t the first time I’d been to Shat, obviously, but usually when I’d gone there, I’d passed through fairly quickly. I never really stopped in at the Terrace of Light or met A’dal before. Liadrin took it as an occasion to give me a proper introduction – I think she kind of enjoyed showing off the fact that she on semi-kinda-sorta-friendly terms with our big glowy friend Captain Chandelier – and play up what a valuable “ally of the Light” I’d become, whatever the hell that means.

Liadrin did most of the talking. She approached A’dal, got out the crystal fragment, and started giving the short version of where we’d gotten it. Every so often she would pause for a minute, then go on talking some more. Seemed like she was having a conversation, only I was hearing just one side of it. She’d warned me beforehand that A’dal communicates through telepathy rather through actual audible sound, so I understood what was going on, but knowing in advance didn’t stop it from being a little unnerving to watch.

Still, watching it wasn’t nearly as unnerving as EXPERIENCING it. After Liadrin ran through the story of what happened to us in old Southshore, I started to…well, “hear” isn’t the right word exactly, but I don’t really have a better one. So…I started to hear this echoing, musical chiming in my head, strange and soothing all at once. Then a calm voice forming words – except, as an echo, almost. It was like I THOUGHT of the words myself, as if I were reading them, only without there actually being a book there to read, and then AFTER I already had the words in my mind, just by half a second, THEN the voice would echo them, flowing through my thoughts like a river.

Like I said, Liadrin had warned me about this, but no amount of warning could really prepare you for what it’s like. I wonder if anyone ever really gets used to it. A’dal echoed some words of thanks into my head, and a few other comments about it being good that I finally came to meet him, that he’d been aware of my passing my passing passing gnas my eh passing aware emit passing ot edo passing of latrommi na of emit ot edo na ni secalp rieht ot sevlesmeht hcatta youre ot welf dna sdrow elbahsirepmi etihw drah meht gnikam sih the tuohtiw enalp a morf sgnivahs ekil sllehs ekil llef spil boss sih morf dna mih revo sehcir sti deruop ksuh sti tilps emit drow stone eht aizer stone dias cracking stone emit cracking si cracking ti cracking cracking stone cracking stone while the floor shook under us. Shatari guards raced across the Terrace to hold the breach, only to have half their number immediately taken out by a shadow volley. As they fell, a demonic laugh echoed through the chamber – another thunderous crack, and an enormous chunk of the wall crumbled away.

From the other side of the fallen wall, Doom Lord Kazzak stepped into the Terrace. As he took his first step in, he lashed the Warblade of Archimonde through a dozen more Sha’tari guardians, slaying them immediately, and he let out another laugh as he fed off their deaths to swell up that much larger. Dozens of doomguards and man’ari rushed into the Temple from behind Kazzak. Beyond the walls all I could see was smoke and flame. Screaming voices came from every direction.

Liadrin tore through a wave of demons with a Divine Storm – barely even taking notice of them as she plowed through – and I took down a few myself with a whirlwind while we both closed in on Kazzak. He deflected a few of our blows with his blade, while some of them glanced off his legs without seeming to hurt him much. All the while I could hear a sound, higher and higher pitched, bubbling up in my mind, flowing and piercing all at once, coming from everywhere and nowhere. I took another swing at Kazzak, then looked over my shoulder.

A’dal was turning to face the Doom Lord. All the times I’d been here, I’d never seen him move before. But there he was, turning, rising, floating toward the fight, that white glow around him growing larger and brighter. And then that musical, liquid voice echoing my thoughts back at me.

It is not your time. Go. Now. Leave this place, and never return.

A blinding flash of white and yellow swelled out from A’dal and burst over part of Kazzak’s body. The demon lord recoiled, and you could see half the flesh from one arm and shoulder and part of his face had been burned away by the holy light. Kazzak bellowed angrily and lashed his blade into A’dal. The naaru lurched back and you could hear a harsh crystalline chiming from his body – then he straightened himself and unleashed another blinding burst of white light around himself and Kazzak, this time leaving most of the demon’s body burned and scarred, muscle and sinew exposed.

Kazzak reared back and screamed out in pain, letting loose another shadow volley that knocked me back and left another dozen or so Sha’tari troops lifeless on the ground. Kazzak burst into that booming laugh as he fed off the souls of the fallen. He swelled up larger again, some of his wounds regenerating, and, growling angrily, he lunged at A’dal, tearing his Warblade through the heart of his crystalline shape – which shook, buckled, and finally…cracked.

The screaming in my mind was the most awful thing I’ve never heard.

The shattered pieces of A’dal spun in place, pulsing, as he started to glow even brighter. Liadrin rushed to his side while Kazzak stepped back, shielding his eyes with his arm. Finally the white glow erupted as broken crystal fragments split and scattered around the temple, strewn in every direction in the wake of a shimmering white shockwave that knocked Liadrin and me back.

I pulled myself together and ran over to check on her. She was sprawled out on her back, eyes wide with shock. Before I could offer my hand, she’d pulled herself up, staring across the room at Kazzak while muttering “He…he…” She steadied herself, tightened her grip on the Ashbringer, then screamed out as she charged at the Doom Lord, her back glowing with holy wings while her eyes glowed with murderous rage murderous rage rage sllaf murderous emit rage glowed tnemides rage emos htiw rage with yvaeh ssalg with a morf sllaf pord a sa tniop a ot srepat youre emit tnadnep semoceb yaddim ta dleif a sa daerpsediw si hcihw the emit thgil gnicnad a htiw derevoc erutsap ynnus a si boss hcihw emit tniop a ot gnirepat emit si gnillaf pord siht htuoy ym gnisol htiw od ot gnihton times sah ton times si trying times gnillaf trying pord trying siht trying trying times trying times, he said, he had hope that I would see them through. I wasn’t sure what to say back – can’t say I’d ever had an actual conversation with my own head before – so I just sort of nodded and thanked him, and by this point Liadrin looked to be ready to go, so we gave the big guy a last respectful bow and turned to leave.

As we were about to exit the Terrace, I heard – felt? – that chiming, flowing sound swelling up in my thoughts again. It was A’dal offering a final thought, calling me by name as if it could be anyone else’s head he was reaching into. One last sentence came echoing back to me, then silence.

If you go to Kypari Zar, you will die.

I have no idea what that was supposed to mean. That is, other than the obvious. I get the dying part. But I’ve got no idea what the hell “Kypari Zar” is, or why I would go there, or how I’m supposed to make sure I don’t. Mostly, though, I’m really starting to get sick of people being all fucking cryptic.

I started to ask Liadrin about it, but she stopped me and said what A’dal chooses to share with anyone is for that person alone. Fat lot of good that does me, right? Oh well. Not going to lose sleep over it now. I’ll burn that bridge when I come to it.

More soon.

 

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.

 

Knights of the Silver (withered) Hand

lightcrystal

Extra followup from Mokvar after he’d gotten back from his dinner break. Faranell’s brother apparently had just met Tirion and the rest last night – he was eating alone at the next table over, so Tirion invited him to come join him, Isilien, and Abbendis. Probably so he could have one more person to yammer on to. Anyway, Mokvar says Tirion and Isilien both seemed to take a liking to Faranell the Younger…erm…Younger and Other… Okay fuck it, hang on.

Okay. Just checked with Fara— OUR Faranell. So the brother’s name is Patrick. Whereas HIS name is Edwin. Yeah, I know, right? I would be a last-name guy too. Anyway, though, that should make this easier.

So as I was saying, Tirion and Isilien seemed to hit it off well with Patrick, especially Isilien. Abbendis seemed a lot more standoffish, with Patrick AND with Mokvar, who ended up sitting with them for a few minutes while they were finishing eating. Related side note – thank GOODNESS Utvoch mostly kept his distance at the bar. A rare moment of sense.

Although…he didn’t waste too much time returning to character once he an Mokvar came back upstairs…

 

MOKVAR: Hey, did you all know that that guy downstairs is Faranell’s brother?

GARROSH: Yeah, it’s his younger brother, sort of a boy genius in alchemy.

LIADRIN: He’s paying the Faranell of this time a call on his way to study in Silvermoon, where he’s fated to meet his end during the Scourge invasion.

MOKVAR: So…I missed a meeting.

UTVOCH: Holy crap, Faranell, did you know about this too?

MOKVAR: Sorry, Faranell, about how long…wait. <stares at Utvoch>

FARANELL: …

GARROSH: …

LIADRIN: That’s…remarkable.

FARANELL: Um, Utvoch…

UTVOCH: Yeah?

FARANELL: Let me make sure I’m following you correctly here.

UTVOCH: Okay.

GARROSH: Personally I think you’re just pulling the bandage off slowly now, but it’s your call…

FARANELL: You’re asking me if I knew that the man downstairs, who is my brother, is my brother?

UTVOCH: Um, yeah, I guess.

FARANELL: <blinks>

GARROSH: They weren’t frigging separated at birth, fuckwit.

LIADRIN: Utvoch?

UTVOCH: Yeah?

LIADRIN: Go play with the child.

UTVOCH: Oh, okay. <thinks> Wait, it’s pretty late, he’s probably asleep—

LIADRIN: Go check for him.

UTVOCH: Um, okay. What if he’s not th—

LIADRIN: Then check some more.

UTVOCH: Yes ma’am.

Utvoch leaves.

FARANELL: See, you’re starting to fit right in.

 

She’s actually really good at dealing with stupidity. I might have to see if can lure her away from Silvermoon to come work with me more often. Maybe offer her a promotion or something, although I don’t know how much she would groove on a job other than being head honcho of the paladins up there. Pansy-ass fuckers though they are. Eh. Still might be worth a try.

So anyway, that was last night.

Today, Liadrin and I spent most of the afternoon camping out downstairs watching for the Silver Hand people to do their thing. Finally as we were getting late into the afternoon, the full cast of characters turned up and gathered around one table near the fireplace. Liadrin and I watched as closely as we could without being too obvious about it, but from where we were standing we couldn’t hear much that they were saying, other than a few words here and there. Luckily we already knew from future-Tirion the basics of the meeting.

Mograine was pretty clearly running the show most of the way, and after a bit, while the rest of the group tried to huddle around to conceal what was going on (successfully? not so much), he did the big unveiling and brought out the dark crystal that Tirion had told us about. I couldn’t see it clearly the whole time, but every time I was able to get a clear line on it, there was just something… uneasy about even looking at it. Liadrin seemed even more disturbed by it than I was – or maybe just intrigued. Either way, at that point she wasn’t making much of an effort to hide the fact that she was staring at the thing.

At one point, Mograin took off one of his gloves and showed the others his hand – it was withered and skeletal, exactly like the undead look, only in his case it was just his hand rather than his whole body. Tirion mentioned Mograine being “scarred” by touching the crystal once, and I’ve seen plenty of disfiguring injuries, but this seemed much more creepy.

Eventually the bunch of them started pouring their holy spells in the crystal, and it started to glow and even hum a little, and then finally it transformed from dark to light, just like Tirion had described. By this point, Liadrin was already in full perked-up mode, but I think her eyes lit up a little extra at that. Mograine touched the crystal, it healed his withered hand with a soft yellow glow, and they all went round and round in whispers – so that’s how it started. The Ashbringer wasn’t made yet, but the idea for it was invented, and in a way that was more important. After they were done, Mograine sealed the crystal in its chest again, then seemed to have a pretty intense discussion about something with Isilien and Doan.

At that point the Faranell brothers wandered into the inn, passed by the Silver Hand bunch, and headed upstairs. Having had a chance to get a closer look at them now, I’m not sure why I didn’t realize on my own that they were related – they’ve definitely got a major family resemblance going, especially around the nose, and, hell, they’ve even got matching cloaks going style-wise, blue for Patrick and gray for Edwin.

Anyway, they were only around for a minute, but I was distracted enough by them being there that I didn’t realize that Liadrin had gone over to the Silver Hand boys and was talking to Isilien, Tirion, and Doan now. I was planning to do any talking we needed to do, but whatever. There goes us getting anywhere through charm. Still, it looked like she ended up winning them over by rolling out a few of those flashy paladin spells – Holy Light or Divine Shield, or Holy Hand of Divinity, or Holy Shock, or Holy Shield, or Shock of Divine Light, or Shield of Divinity, or Holy Hell I’m Shocked You’re Holy or the Holy fucking Hand Grenade or WHATEVER the hell those paladin spells are called. Like seriously, take “holy,” “divine,” “light,” and any other two words you can think of, throw them in a hat, and pull out two, and that’s the name of some ability of theirs. And you wonder why everyone gets so sick of them.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, Liadrin was talking to the Silver Hands. Tirion excused himself and went upstairs, so I decided it was safe for me to go join the discussion. Because honestly, I’ve been trapped in enough tedious conversations with Tirion in my own time, I don’t need to treat myself to any prequels. Anyway, Liadrin and Isilien were hitting it off fairly well by this point, although Doan seemed sort of standoffish, and eventually he excused himself too and left Isilien to talk to us by himself.

The long and the short of it is this. Liadrin was able to convince Isilien the she was a kindred spirit as a paladin, and got him to bring her into the know. Isilien, for his part, is all on board with Mograine’s idea to use the light crystal to create the Ashbringer, but he’s also thinking that the crystal might be a source of power that they could draw on to help defend against the undead in other ways. He’s persuaded Mograine to let him and Doan study it for a day or two – just like the Tirion from our time said – and see if there’s any potential there.

For our part, Lidrain’s convinced Isilien that she and some of her friends, myself included, might be interested in the endeavor. He was wary about bringing too many more people into this, but considering he’s working with limited time, he figures he’s not in a position to turn away help. He’s going to spend the day tomorrow working through some ideas with Doan, but then, tomorrow night, he’s invited us to stop by his room here at the inn to put our heads together. So here we go. Coming down to crunch time. More soon.

 

 

[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!]

 

Wibbly wobbly, timey whimey

cavernsoftime

We arrived at the Caverns of Time just a short while ago. Soridormi greeted us on arrival, and I let her take the rest of the group on the tour of the place while I made a lemon squares delivery. Like I mentioned, the big guy really loves his pastry, to the point that he actually has a couple of personal bakers right here in-house. Turns out Nozdormu was still off somewhere busy, so I dropped by the bakery to leave the goodies with his bakers, and figured while I was there, what the hell, I might as well leave them a copy of the recipe. Maybe win a few bonus points that way. I wound up hanging out with them there while I waited for everyone to get back. Not sure what to make of those two. I mean, they seemed happy enough to take the recipe, and one of them, Tom, seemed really cool. Awesome guy. Can totally see him being the kind of dude that everybody loves. Colin, though…I don’t know, he just seemed like kind of a dick.

Anyway, after everyone was done having a look around the place, Nozdormu came out to see us. Eventually. I’ve heard that’s kind of his pattern. Even after the tour, he took his sweet time showing up. So we were just stuck sitting there a while, me and Mokvar going through his notes to catch Liadrin up, and meanwhile Dontrag and Utvoch (yes, I brought them, it never hurts to have a couple low-grade flunkies around for the heavy lifting) managed to kill some time flipping coins. In which, by the way, it looked like Utvoch really took Dontrag to the cleaners. Or maybe the other way around. I still have trouble keeping them straight sometimes.

Anyway, eventually Nozdormu got his scaly ass out to see us. You should have seen the way he breezed on in. First of all, I swear somebody started cranking out smoke right before he showed up, and then, when he finally came strolling on in through the fog, he did some kind of time distortion thing that made everything seem like it had slowed down to half speed. And so here he comes, pimping on in through the smoke, in slow motion. Gotta admit, it was pretty fucking cool.

Anyway, Thrall had already given Nozdormu – or, as I like to call him, The Noz – a brief rundown of the situation, and Faranell and I filled in some more of the details for him. He mostly just nodded knowingly in that way he always does, kind of floating somewhere halfway between really cool and really annoying. Eventually he said he could probably help us out, provided we could stick to a few rules. I told him that shouldn’t be problem, because if there’s one thing yours truly is all about, it’s discipline and self-control. He just kind of stared at me a little when I said that. Not sure what the deal was there. But yeah, so he filled out the picture for us, and…you know what, why am I yammering away paraphrasing this? Mokvar was there. Here, I’ll have him hook us up:

 

NOZDORMU: As it happens, we have a time portal already established to Hillsbrad in the era you’re speaking of, so it shouldn’t be hard at all to send you there.

GARROSH: Well that’s convenient I guess. Would you not be able to open a new portal if you didn’t have one running already?

NOZDORMU: That would be…more problematic. We of the bronze dragonflight still have dominion over the timeways, and can travel along the pathways of time, but since the defeat of Deathwing, my ability to manipulate those timeways enough to open new time portals is…limited.

GARROSH: I was wondering about that, actually. Like how does that work with you guys? I would have figured losing your Aspect powers would have put this place out of business.

NOZDORMU: Not quite so simple. It’s true, we former Aspects expended our ancient power in order to charge the Dragon Soul, and we are now diminished, as compared to what we were. Mortal now, most notably…

GARROSH: Actually, if Deathwing and, you know, Malygos were any indication, you guys were sort of always mortal…

NOZDORMU: Well that’s different.

GARROSH: How is it different?

NOZDORMU: Malygos and Neltharion were killed in battle. Without the intervention of their slayers they would have carried on as immortals for eternity.

GARROSH: So, they were immortal as long as somebody didn’t kill them. Gotta say, that’s a pretty loose definition of “immortal.”

NOZDORMU: Did you really come here to argue semantics with a millennia-old, Titan-appointed caretaker of reality, just before asking him to do you a favor?

GARROSH: I know, I know. Just sayin’.

NOZDORMU: Where did that expression come from, incidentally? “Just sayin’.” If you say something insulting or presumptuous, how does tacking “Just sayin’” on the end of it make it any less insulting?

GARROSH: Okay, okay, you’re immortal, fine. Well, were.

NOZDORMU: Nevertheless, each of the flights holds dominion over one of the primal forces of the world, and even without our Aspect empowerment, the flights maintain those bonds. Ysera and the green dragonflight, for instance, continue their attunement to the Emerald Dream, just as the red dragonflight maintain their stewardship of life. Likewise, we bronze dragons are able to travel through time, and I personally retain my heightened perception of temporality.

GARROSH: What about Kalecgos?

NOZDORMU: What about him?

GARROSH: Well, he was the Aspect of Magic, right?

NOZDORMU: For about a week.

GARROSH: Well, still.

NOZDORMU: I don’t know. I guess he can still…well… He probably still knows a few card tricks, I guess.

GARROSH: Oh.

NOZDORMU: I’m not sure, though.

GARROSH: Ah, okay.

NOZDORMU: Yeah.

Garrosh, Faranell, and Liadrin exchange awkward looks.

GARROSH: So about the Hillsbrad thing.

NOZDORMU: Oh yes, that. As I was saying. We have a portal already established to Hillsbrad circa a decade ago, so it would be simple enough to send you through. I can further assign Chronormu—

Chromie, a bronze dragon assuming the form of a female gnome, teleports in and bounces happily next to Nozdormu.

CHROMIE: Hiya!

NOZDORMU: —to check in on you on occasion, to be sure there aren’t any unforeseen complications.

GARROSH: Wait, she’s a dragon? And what do you mean, complications?

CHROMIE: Yup, that’s me!

NOZDORMU: Yes, she’s one of the bronze flight. I suppose you haven’t met—

CHROMIE: Oh sure we ha—

NOZDORMU: I mean he. Hasn’t met you.

CHROMIE: Ohhhh, right, skipper. <making a zipping motion across her mouth> Sshhh!

GARROSH: Should…I be worried about something here?

FARANELL: I probably would have been worried long before this, but that’s just me.

CHROMIE: Ohhh don’t you fret over little ol’ me. I don’t bite. At least not in this form! <giggles>

GARROSH: Speaking of which, do you really have to be a gnome?

CHROMIE: Why? What’s wrong with gnomes?

Mokvar, Faranell, Dontrag, and Utvoch all utter overlapping groans.

MOKVAR: Oh boy, here we go.

DONTRAG: What’s wrong with gnomes, she says…

FARANELL: Even I know better than to…yeah…

UTVOCH: We’re going to be here a while, aren’t we?

MOKVAR: Every day with the gnomes…

LIADRIN: <to Faranell> Um, what did Lor’themar drag me into?

FARANELL: Give it a little time, really. It seems weird at first, but after a little while it actually becomes kind of fun.

DONTRAG: If he’s going to start in on the gnomes, you want to toss a few more coins?

UTVOCH: Yeah, no thanks, eighty-nine straight losses is enough for me in one day.

GARROSH: Okay, okay, will you people SHUT UP?

NOZDORMU: If one of my progeny taking the guise of a gnome is really that distasteful to you, I suppose I could appoint someone else, although I must say Chromie is one of my very best operatives, and…

CHROMIE: Thanks, gramps!

GARROSH: Yeah, okay, it’s fine. I’m not thrilled about the gnome thing, but whatever, I’m a professional. I’ll rise above it.

UTVOCH: Most inconceivable of you, sir—

GARROSH: <smacks Utvoch> We’ve been through this before about you and that word.

UTVOCH: Sorry, sir…

GARROSH: Okay, so fine, your little pipsqueak friend can be our contact.

CHROMIE: Woot!

GARROSH: But what was that thing about complications?

NOZDORMU: Well, Warchief, time is, after all, a rather complex and delicate thing, and one must be rather cautious when traversing its pathways. A certain, shall we say, delicacy and finesse is called for.

GARROSH: Dude, I am all about the fucking finesse. Right, guys?

Crickets.

NOZDORMU: At…any rate. You must simply take care not to interfere with past events more than is absolutely necessary. Speaking generally, you should not underestimate the potential impact of seemingly minor actions. You cannot imagine the magnitude of the consequences that can unfold from even a minor alteration in the timeline. More specifically, you will be traveling to a time and place that witnessed certain crucial events that cannot be disrupted…

GARROSH: Yeah, okay, that shouldn’t be a problem, this is 90% a fact-finding mission anyway, so…

NOZDORMU: So you say, and I do not doubt your intentions. But you must take care not to do anything that might interfere with certain key events playing out as they were meant to. Specifically, for one, the forging of the Ashbringer. You will be witnessing the fulcrum of an intricate convergence of events, which cannot be disturbed. The crystal carried by the eldest Mograine represents the spark which sets in motion events that must occur; this cannot be undermined.

GARROSH: Okay, check. No smashy-smashy on the crystal. Anything else?

NOZDORMU: One other matter. The reason, in fact, that this particular time portal was opened in the first place. You will be arriving at the moment in history when a young Thrall escapes from his human captors in Durnholde Keep. It is the singular event without which the Horde as it now exists…would not.

GARROSH: Wait, I get why that’s an event we can’t fuck around with, but why would you have opened a portal there if it’s so important that nobody interfere with it?

NOZDORMU: Because someone already did.

GARROSH: The what you say?

MOKVAR: I swear these time loop stories make my head hurt.

NOZDORMU: Agents of the Infinite Dragonflight had attempted to prevent Thrall’s escape, in order to…well, suffice to say, they sought to alter the timeline to ill effect. Some time ago, the bronze flight in my absence elicited the aid of a group of adventurers to travel back to this point in history and ensure that events played out as they should.

GARROSH: Okay…but, in that case, you already have people there keeping tabs on things, right? And they succeeded. We’re all here, and the Horde’s still here, so Thrall escaped and the world didn’t go kablooey or whatever, so your people did their job there and it’s a done deal, isn’t it?

NOZDORMU: It won’t be when you’re there. Those events are past to us, yes. And they have happened – now. But when you step through the portal, they will be as real and present to you as this conversation is now.

MOKVAR: Yeah, see, I really should have brought some aspirin.

GARROSH: I mean, yeah, I get that we’ll be seeing things happening live and in person. But if we’re sitting here having this conversation, that means whatever we end up doing there DOESN’T change anything, right? I mean, say you send me to the past. It’s still the past. So if I DID accidentally change things, wouldn’t we already know?

NOZDORMU: Except the actions you take in old Hillsbrad aren’t only the past. They are also, from our point of view in this moment, your future. Those events remain unchanged, until you actually change them. And only then do the ripples spread to the present.

LIADRIN: This is actually kind of fascinating.

NOZDORMU: Have you ever experienced déjà vu, Garrosh? Or had a memory that was so vivid and real to you, even though you knew, objectively knew for a fact, that the events didn’t happen the way you so clearly remember them?

GARROSH: Well, yeah, I guess…

NOZDORMU: That’s time rewriting itself. It happens all around us, constantly, in countless tiny ways we never notice except the cracks that flicker in the corners of our eyes. Well, you don’t notice. It’s all I ever see.

CHROMIE: Here we go, skipper, time for your favorite speech!

NOZDORMU: It’s what all of my flight sees, really; I simply have the most sensitive perception. When I look at you, Garrosh, I don’t just see you as you are now. I see everything you’ve done, everything you might do, everything you must do. They’re all written in your face, every minute, and with every choice you make, some of the endless possibilities reshape themselves, others melt away… Every single one of you here, accompanied constantly by an army of past and possible selves. Almost as if there were a thousand of you standing right here before me, Garrosh.

MOKVAR: Don’t let Garona hear that, can you imagine—

GARROSH: If you finish that sentence, I will END you.

LIADRIN: I’m…missing a lot of context for you people, aren’t I?

FARANELL: Don’t worry about it too much. I’m still pretty new, too. You catch up fast.

DONTRAG: Ohhh, I get it, you mean about how Garona’s been trying to—

UTVOCH: SHUT IT, nobody cares about her rolling an alt.

FARANELL: For instance, they’re idiots.

LIADRIN: Well yes, I gathered that much.

GARROSH: ANYWAY.

DONTRAG: No, not her alt, I mean—

GARROSH: <pummel>

DONTRAG: OWW!!

GARROSH: So okay, I think I get it. Past events can always change, time revises itself right out from under us when they do, but some events have to stay put. So say, like with what you were saying about looking at me and seeing my past and future… Like say next Tuesday I’m going to slip on a banana peel, but me falling on my ass sets off some other events that are really important, so even if you want to, you can’t be like “Hey Garrosh, watch out for the banana peel.” Because there’s some stuff in my future that HAS to happen.

Nozdormu stares at Garrosh somberly for a moment.

NOZDORMU:  I think you grasp the basic idea, yes.

GARROSH: Oh so hey, is that why everybody’s just accepting how eventually you HAVE to go Murozond on us and cause all that trouble with the Infinite Dragonflight yourself?

NOZDORMU: Hey, listen, if you want to start poring over people’s misguided futures, I can—

CHROMIE: Whoa, whoa, cool down a little, boss! Ix-nay on the iege-say, right?

NOZDORMU: Ahem. Yes, yes, of course.

GARROSH: Umm, the hell was that shit about?

NOZDORMU: Hmm. One moment.

Nozdormu closes his eyes and takes on an expression of intense focus.

.tnemom enO  .mmH :UMRODZON

?tuoba tihs taht saw lleh eht ,mmU :HSORRAG

.esruoc fo ,sey ,seY .mehA :UMRODZON

?thgir ,yas-egei eht no yan-xI !ssob ,elttil a nwod looc ,aohw, aohW :EIMORHC

—nac I ,serutuf dediugsim s’elpoep revo gnirop trats ot tnaw uoy fi ,netsil ,yeH :UMRODZON

?flesruoy thgilfnogarD etinifnI eht htiw elbuort lla esuac dna su no dnozoruM og ot EVAH uoy yllautneve woh gnitpecca tsuj s’ydobyreve yhw taht si ,yeh os hO :HSORRAG

GARROSH: Oh so hey, is that why everybody’s just accepting how eventually you HAVE to go Murozond on us and cause all that trouble with the Infinite Dragonflight yourself?

NOZDORMU: Yes, basically.

CHROMIE: Whew.  That’s better.

NOZDORMU: Much.

CHROMIE: Why dodge a bullet when you can wind it back into the chamber, right?

NOZDORMU: Indeed.

GARROSH: Uh, what are you two babbling about?

NOZDORMU: Oh, nothing you need concern yourself with. Shall we start making preparations for you to begin your mission? There are a few small specifics we’ll need to go over.

GARROSH: Yeah, sure… Hey, actually, did I ask you that thing about Murozond before?

NOZDORMU: No, I don’t think so.

GARROSH: Huh, weird. Déjà vu.

 

We’re getting ourselves set to take the trip shortly. Mostly making sure we have any supplies we might need, getting a general briefing on what we’re allowed to “know” and “not know” if we talk to anyone in the other timeframe, all that fun stuff. Also, to make sure we blend in, The Noz says when we go through the portal we’ll be affected by a glamour that will make us look like we’re human. Not exactly a pleasant thought, but I can see why it’s necessary. Still, I hope whatever human form I get ends up being a LITTLE palatable. I don’t want to go literally strolling down memory lane looking like an asshole.