Tag Archives: caverns of time

Kypari Zar: Prologue

kyparizar1

[While Shayari, Spazzle, and Mokvar have been busy keeping the blog active with their own activities, Garrosh has been occupied with the start of a fairly important undertaking of his own. As you might recall, when we last left the Warchief…

C47_Page_3

For long-time readers (like really, really long-time!), this is a moment you’ve been anticipating for a while, but for newer arrivals to the blog, a quick recap might be in order. (I know, I know, I try to link back to relevant posts as much as possible, but at some point I should probably stop expecting people to just go back and read years’ worth of my nonsense…)

Not long before the events of Tides of War, Garrosh traveled to the Caverns of Time and, accompanied by Mokvar, Liadrin, Faranell, and (spirits help us) Utvoch, went on a mission that took him to Southshore some ten years in the past — the same time period we players visit during the Escape from Durnholde instance. The adventure in old Southshore had several pieces of fallout (more on that in a moment!), but the most immediately relevant one was the recovery of a shard from a dark crystal that the Knights of the Silver Hand had infused with the Light — a small piece of the same light crystal from which the Ashbringer would eventually be forged.

garroshadalliadrin1Garrosh entrusted the recovered crystal to Lady Liadrin, who rightly deduced that it was part of the remains of a dying naaru. Liadrin persuaded Garrosh to let her return the shard to A’dal in Shattrath; the Warchief accompanied her on the trip. While there, just before leaving, Garrosh received an ominous telepathic message from A’dal: “If you go to Kypari Zar, you will die.”

Garrosh didn’t know what to make of the message, but he soon found himself far too busy to worry about it. In the days leading up to the attack on Theramore, the Warchief discovered another unexpected consequence of his journey to old Hillsbrad: Faranell had accidentally altered the past, creating an alternate timeline that Garrosh found himself being pulled into. While in the other universe, Garrosh encountered the hozen Zhi-Zhi, who addressed him as “the One” and told him — vaguely and, let’s face it, unhelpfully — that he had a “destiny.” Any chance of learning more from Zhi-Zhi was seemingly lost, though, when that timeline’s version of the hozen was killed in the fall of Orgrimmar. (“The what?!” Well see, now I am going to force you to go back and read. Here.)

That all changed after Garrosh traveled to Tian Monastery, where he encountered this timeline’s version of Zhi-Zhi — who, like his alternate-universe counterpart, also recognized Garrosh as “the One.” Zhi-Zhi and Elder Cloudfall explained that they had both seen Garrosh in visions and that he did indeed have an important destiny. They declined to elaborate further, though, until Garrosh returned to the monastery seeking counsel and Elder Cloudfall offered to take the Warchief to a place where his questions might be answered…

C8_Page_01

A string of interruptions prevented Garrosh from taking the elder up on his offer right away, though. And then he was back in Orgrimmar, and all of a sudden he was a father, and then that whole thing with Mokvar, so, you know, who has time for pandas?

Well, guess what — Garrosh has time for pandas, now that he’s made the time, dammit! And that’s where we last left him, flying across the Dread Wastes, chasing down destiny.

And so, on that note, here we go. The end begins tomorrow morning. Stay tuned.]

 

Remembered

C17_Page_1

C17_Page_2

* Lok’osh was one of the DPS trainees until he was killed by saurok.  Garrosh learned of his death here.

C17_Page_3

* After falling from a ledge in the caves, Gurtash woke to find he’d injured his hand.

C17_Page_4

C17_Page_5

* Elder Cloudfall gave Garrosh this speech (among other bits of cryptic goodness) when the Warchief first visited Tian Monastery.

C17_Page_6

C17_Page_7

 

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.

 

The fire in which we burn

cavernsoftime2

Dranosh left with the Windrunner for Theramore. He brought Dontrag and Utvoch, which, I mean, I know this is really no time for jokes, but…HAHA! Poor fucker. Anyway, he’s going to see if he can find Faranell there, or in Thunder Bluff if need be. One way or another, Mokvar and I will meet him there when we’re done on our end.

We got Mokvar hooked up with a wyvern, and we both flew down from Ashenvale to Tanaris. Soridormi was there to greet us when we arrived at the Caverns of Time.

 

SORIDORMI: Overlord. Or do you still prefer “Warchief” in this reality? It’s so hard to know what to call certain people.

GARROSH: Doesn’t matter. Call me whatever.

SORIDORMI: Oh? So if I decide “Roshy” has a nice ring to it…?

GARROSH: Don’t get clever.

SORIDORMI: <wry grin> I’m afraid it’s far too late for that.

GARROSH: <grumbles> Fine, whatever. While you’re being all smug and smart, though, how about this – last time I was here, seems to me you might have, you know, neglected to mention a few minor details about this world.

SORIDORMI: In fairness, I did tell you all that there were other events that played out differently.

GARROSH: Which you totally made sound like “I’m just glossing over this since it’s not really that important.”

SORIDORMI: Did I? Hardly. Every moment is important, Garrosh. But at the time, there was no telling how much longer I had to detail matters further. We were – if you’ll pardon the expression – working on borrowed time.

GARROSH: And now?

SORIDORMI: This timeline has taken…a much firmer hold.

MOKVAR: The last few times we’ve shifted, our time here has gotten longer, and our time in the original timeline has gotten shorter…

SORIDORMI: <nods> This timeline is taking over as the predominant one. That overwriting of your reality will soon be complete, if it isn’t already.

GARROSH: Well then, since we’re in like 2% less of a rush now, how about you fill in a few gaps for us. Starting with, say, why it is that Orgrimmar is overrun right now by the Burning Legion and the Scourge, both of which we had pretty well under control last I checked.

SORIDORMI: In both cases, everything hinges on certain unexpected events involving the Battle of the Wrathgate.

GARROSH: Go on…

SORIDORMI: After the Alliance and Horde set aside their petty conflicts and united against the Lich King, Tirion Fordring’s Argent Crusade was able to assemble a strike force of the greatest champions from both factions. The team that Fordring would lead into Icecrown Citadel for the final assault would be far mightier even than the one that defeated Arthas in your timeline.

GARROSH: Okay, so I’m not seeing how that leads to things being WORSE.

SORIDORMI: It didn’t, at first. But you’ll recall, in the time leading up to the attack, the Lich King’s chief researcher was not Professor Putricide – Patrick Faranell – but Putress.

Soridormi holds out her hand and summons an image of Rotface and Festergut.

IMAGE OF ROTFACE: Daddy make toys out of you! WEEEEEE!

IMAGE OF FESTERGUT: Dead, dead, dead! Daddy, I did it!

SORIDORMI: Putricide’s most formidable creations, while strong, were ultimately…limited. Undermined by a lingering sentimentality that Putricide would carry into undeath from another life.

She shakes her hand, and the image changes to that of Patrick Faranell.

IMAGE OF PATRICKBetween you, me, and the walls, I’d rather like to have a couple sons… I remember how much Dad seemed to enjoy himself with us.

SORIDORMI: Putress’ malevolent ingenuity would have no such…humanity to temper it. He would furnish the Lich King with constructs more monstrous and strains of blight more virulent than anything known to your timeline.

GARROSH: Um, didn’t I ask you THIS VERY THING about Putress the last time?

SORIDORMI: You did. I didn’t give you an answer.

GARROSH: INDEED YOU DIDN’T.

MOKVAR: I think we might have distracted her, actually.

GARROSH: Whose side are you on?

MOKVAR: I’m on the side of us not standing around bickering over who said what and why.

GARROSH: Fine. So Putress invented some powerful shit, boy, don’t know why you never thought of that, Garrosh, go on please.

SORIDORMI: Strengthened by Putress’ creations, the Lich King would ultimately defeat Fordring’s even mightier strike force.

MOKVAR: So some of the most powerful heroes against the Scourge, from the Horde and Alliance, were all killed.

SORIDORMI: <pauses grimly> It would have been a kindness had they merely been killed.

Soridormi waves her hand, summoning a likeness of the Lich King.

lichking

IMAGE OF THE LICH KING: You trained them well, Fordring. You delivered the greatest fighting force this world has ever known…right into my hands – exactly as I intended.

MOKVAR: By the spirits…

GARROSH: He raised them as his minions…

SORIDORMI: And then killed Tirion Fordring. <closes her eyes a moment> And then raised him

IMAGE OF THE LICH KING: You could’ve been my greatest champion, Fordring. A force of darkness that would wash over this world and deliver it into a new age of strife.

SORIDORMI: …to lead his new army of Deathbringers.

Garrosh and Mokvar exchange troubled looks.

GARROSH: Okay… Bad news part one done… Now what about the demons?

SORIDORMI: A further consequence of the defeat in Icecrown Citadel… You may recall, in your time, after the fall of the Lich King, some of his former minions would find for themselves…new allegiances.

Soridormi conjures a shimmering likeness of Sylvanas Windrunner.

IMAGE OF SYLVANAS: With the death of the Lich King, many of the more intelligent Scourge became…unemployed… They are under my command now…

SORIDORMI: With the Lich King victorious, the val’kyr would never ally themselves with Sylvanas. Which would prove…unfortunate for the Forsaken.

Soridormi waves her hand. Above her palm appears an image of Sylvanas with Lord Godfrey and High Warlord Cromush at the Greymane Wall.

IMAGE OF SYLVANAS: Soldiers of the Horde! We are victorious! Lordaeron is w—

The image of Lord Godfrey draws a pistol and shoots Sylvanas point-blank. She immediately falls dead on the ground.

sylvanasfallen

IMAGE OF CROMUSH: What have you done, Godfrey?!

IMAGE OF GODFREY: Something that should have been done a long time ago, you filthy animal. Gilneas belongs to me, and so soon will the rest of Lordaeron!

SORIDORMI: In your timeline, Sylvanas was resurrected by her val’kyr servants. Here, she had no val’kyr to save her. Sylvanas Windrunner died – for the second and final time. In the aftermath of her death, leadership of the Undercity would pass to Sylvanas’ second, her majordomo of several years.

varimathras

The nathrezim Varimathras.

GARROSH: Varimathras? How? He’s…dead…oh no…

MOKVAR: <head sinks> The Wrathgate…

SORIDORMI: <nods> Without Putress in the Undercity, Varimathras had no collaborator with whom to conspire against the Banshee Queen. There was never a coup against Sylvanas. And without the coup against Sylvanas, Varimathras was never exposed as the traitor he was — his true loyalties to the Burning Legion never revealed. He carried on unimpeded, not only free to continue his scheming in the Undercity, but eventually becoming its leader. Much time did not pass before he carried out his master plan…

She waves her hand again, summoning the fiery red likeness of a monstrous eredar.

kiljaeden

…and summoned Kil’jaeden the Deceiver into this world. Bringing with him countless legions of demons from the Twisted Nether. Bringing with him the Second Fall of Lordaeron. Most of the Eastern Kingdoms was soon to follow.

GARROSH: Fucking hell…

MOKVAR: Soridormi… Edwin is in this world now, we think. If we can get him here, is there still time to undo all this?

SORIDORMI: If we can get him back to Southshore, we should be able to reset the timelines with both Edwins at the points they need to be.

GARROSH: Okay, great, so we’ll just collect him and get him down here and—

SORIDORMI: Actually getting him to old Southshore, though, is no easy task, and not without problems.

GARROSH: Dammit, I thought if I said that fast enough we could get out before the “but” kicked in.

MOKVAR: What’s the problem?

SORIDORMI: Sending Edwin back to period to which he’s already time-traveled involves crossing his own timeline in ways that no mortal was meant to do.

GARROSH: Ah…the whole “no double-dipping” thing.

SORIDORMI: To open a stable time portal for such a repeat incursion will require me to channel immense amounts of power – far more than I can summon up myself.

GARROSH: What about the Noz? He’s the head honcho time guy anyway, couldn’t he pull it off?

SORIDORMI: I am…the most powerful member of the Bronze Flight here.

GARROSH: How does that work? I mean I get that you’ve got this secret super time vision and whatever, but no offense, how did you get to be more powerful than Noz?

MOKVAR: Garrosh…

SORIDORMI: I’m not.

GARROSH: So what gives? Where is he, any…oh…oh no…

SORIDORMI: <looks down a moment> For a number of reasons…the final confrontation with Deathwing proved…far more costly in this timeline than in the other.

GARROSH: I… Wow do I feel like a jackass.

MOKVAR: This is what it finally took, huh?

GARROSH: So…we need a power source to tap into, then?

SORIDORMI: That’s right.

Garrosh stares off to one side, thinking anxiously.

MOKVAR: Not to bring up bad memories, Soridormi, but I don’t suppose the Dragon Soul is an option?

SORIDORMI: I would be, yes…

GARROSH: Okay, so—

SORIDORMI: Except that it has already been returned to its own time, and retrieving it a second time would involve the type of crossing of timelines that we need the power source for in the first place.

GARROSH: Okay, seriously, you’ve got to start leading with the “but” part of these answers.

MOKVAR: What about the spell book that Malchezaar used to bring the demons into Orgrimmar?

SORIDORMI: <shakes her head> The Book of Medivh is a powerful source of portal magic, for portals within this reality, but hardly helpful for the kind of temporal manipulation we’re undertaking.

GARROSH: <staring down, hesitant> What about…the Focusing Iris? From the Eye of Eternity?

SORIDORMI: <nods slowly> The Focusing Iris would work, yes. As a dragon relic, in fact, it should lend itself all the more easily to my use.

MOKVAR: Do we know where it is now?

GARROSH: The Blue Dragonflight is keeping it in Coldarra.

SORIDORMI: I will give you my talisman to show to the blues. They will give you the Iris if they know you’ve been sent by me. They’ll know I would not ask were the need not dire.

GARROSH: Okay then. I think we have a plan.

SORIDORMI: Indeed, Warchief.

GARROSH: You know what? Just call me Garrosh. People calling me “Warchief” here either gets confusing like with Utvoch earlier, or it’s just creepy like with Malchezaar.

MOKVAR: We should probably get go—

SORIDORMI: Wait, Garrosh – Malchezaar saw you, and called you “Warchief”?

GARROSH: Yeah, why?

SORIDORMI: <fidgets with her hands nervously> You need to go. Now. Take my talisman and get to Northrend quickly to recover the Focusing Iris.

MOKVAR: Why? What is it?

GARROSH: I’ve really kind of had my fill of flying blind around here. What’s got you spooked all of a sudden?

SORIDORMI: The Netherspace where Malchezaar dwelled was a distorted region of time.

GARROSH: Right, I know. Time loop, round and round, now he’s dead, now he’s not, boom. So what?

SORIDORMI: The Netherspace rests at the intersection of countless times. Those who dwell there can see into the different realities – bits and pieces, usually, but one never knows. If Malchezaar knows to call you “Warchief,” he has seen your other world. And in that case, he may well know enough – or could deduce – how the worlds fit together and how they might be corrected.

MOKVAR: It would really be nice if there could be some stupid people on the bad guys’ side for a change…

SORIDORMI: The Burning Legion stands on the brink of a victory on Azeroth that it has coveted for millennia. If they realize what we’re doing, they will not stand idly by. We need to act quickly.

GARROSH: Got it. Be doing whatever you need to do to get ready, Soridormi. We’ll be back with Edwin and the Focusing Iris.

SORIDORMI: I hope so, Garrosh. Titans watch over you.

 

We winged it double-time to Thunder Bluff. I’m writing from there now. Dranosh and the others haven’t arrived yet, but I’ve sent a messenger to Theramore with the barest bare-bones of what we need to do. I’m guessing he’ll be headed here by nightfall, morning at the latest, and then we can get moving.

Next stop, Northrend.

 

 

[Sylvanas and Kil’jaeden images above provided by Rioriel from Postcards From Azeroth, reproduced here with permission and many thanks. Click on the links in the previous sentence to see the souped-up Postcards versions!]

 

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.”

 

Time isn’t holding us

cavernsoftime

After my latest kablooey-switcheroo, and finding out Mokvar’s been experiencing the same thing, I contacted Tirion to arrange for us to bring Faranell with us to the Caverns of Time. I was originally planning to have someone go pick up Edwin in Hearthglen and bring him back to Orgrimmar, but as it turns out, Tirion is concerned enough about Edwin that he insisted on escorting him to the Caverns of Time himself. Liadrin’s offered to come as well, so she’s going to meet them in Hearthglen before heading to Tanaris.

That works out for another reason: From talking to Liadrin, I found out that she’s also been experiencing these flashes, at least the last couple days. Same thing Mokvar and I have had happening – clear out of the blue, finding ourselves in a different situation with different people doing different things than we’d been doing the minute before. I asked around Orgrimmar, but nobody else seems to know what I’m talking about – not Eitrigg, not Nazgrim, not Spazzle, not anybody. Eitrigg, though…well, when he heard Tirion was coming to meet us at the Caverns of Time, he just up and invited himself along. So yay, fun times.

We arrived earlier today, and no surprise, the conversation was eventful.

 

SORIDORMI: Greetings once again, Warchief.

GARROSH: Sori. You already know Mokvar here.

Soridormi nods politely to Mokvar.

MOKVAR: Ma’am.

GARROSH: And this is Eitrigg, one of my main advisors. Eitrigg, let me introduce Soridormi, Prime Consort of Nozdormu.

EITRIGG: Lady Soridormi.

SORIDORMI: Of course. I haven’t met you yet. Not at all.

EITRIGG: Um…begging your pardon, m’lady?

GARROSH: Just let it slide, Eitrigg.

MOKVAR: Uh oh. Fog alert.

GARROSH: Try not to let yourself get all bent out of shape when they say cryptic stuff like that. They do it all the ffrreeaakkiinngg ttiimmee aaarrrooouuunnnddd hhheeerrreee, aaannnddd…oooohhhh, hhhheeeerrrreeee wwwweeee ggggoooo.

EITRIGG: Iiiissss aaaannnnyyyyoooonnnneeee eeeellllsssseeee nnnnoooottttiiiicccciiiinnnngggg…?

MOKVAR: Yyyyyoooouuuu ggggeeeetttt uuuusssseeeedddd ttttoooo iiiitttt.

The surrounding smoke thickens, and then, in slow motion, Nozdormu enters comes pimping in.

NOZDORMU: Warchief.

GARROSH: Noz.

EITRIGG: Does…he always do that when he arrives?

MOKVAR: Every. Single. Time.

NOZDORMU: I would say I hope you are all well, Garrosh, but based on your message, I know that’s not the case.

GARROSH: You could say that.

MOKVAR: Do you have any ideas about what this could be?

NOZDORMU: I have my suspicions. But I cannot be certain until…ah, here they come now.

Tirion Fordring enters, accompanying his aide Daria L’Rayne, Lady Liadrin, and, lingering behind them, Edwin Faranell.

GARROSH: Tirion, Liadrin.

MOKVAR: Hey Edwin.

TIRION: Greetings, gentlemen. And of course, Lady Soridormi. And the Timeless One, a great pleasure it is finally to make your acquaintance – truly an honor it is to finally stand in the presence of the being who serves our world as the caretaker of time itself.

NOZDORMU: Yes, I’d heard about you being the one responsible for wasting so very much of it.

TIRION: Timeless One?

NOZDORMU: Never mind.

EITRIGG: Tirion!

TIRION: Ah, Eitrigg, my friend! A pleasure and an honor it is to finally stand face to face with you once again! Too much time, far too many years have elapsed since last we stood in each other’s company.

EITRIGG: It’s good to see you again, my friend.

TIRION: A haggard sight, no doubt, for long-absent eyes in my case, noble orc. The intervening years have not, I suspect, been kind, and I fear the pains of loss and war weigh heavily on my face. But not without the accompanying relief of triumph and great hope, I can assure you!

Nozdormu rolls his eyes and waves one hand in Tirion’s direction.

And you, noble Eitrigg! The years, I must say, have been quite kind. Perhaps the stray wht hr, nd line on yr face – brght on, I cn nly hope by lghtr nd bmng smls, rthr thn strsss nd nxts A hrbngr I wld hp ny trst f a grt lnglfyttcmnflldwthjynd cntntmntagrtmsrfwichIcnnlyhpeImyytstndnrtwtnssfrsthnd.

NOZDORMU: Well, that was slightly less painful.

MOKVAR: Did you just fast-forward him?

GARROSH: Dude, is there any way I could get like a bottle of whatever that shit was? I will seriously pay you whatever you want to charge for it.

NOZDORMU: A bottle of dominion over time? Sorry, not really an option.

GARROSH: Dammit.

MOKVAR: Nice try, boss.

GARROSH: I would fucking POUR that shit on Dontrag and Utvoch.

TIRION: Well now, ladies and gentlemen…

GARROSH: Oh no, here he goes. Queue it up again, Noz.

TIRION: …I suppose it is time we addressed the man of the hour, as it were.

Tirion gestures back toward Faranell, who steps up past Liadrin and Daria. Nozdormu stares at Faranell for a long moment with an increasingly worried look.

NODORMU: Oh…oh, that’s not good…

GARROSH: Oh boy…

FARANELL: What’s wrong?

NOZDORMU: You are. Everything about you…you’re… I’m sorry, my friend, but you’re just wrong. You shouldn’t be.

FARANELL: Um, okay…

LIADRIN: I’d worried that it might be this bad…

GARROSH: Okay, so now that we’ve made him feel like crap, can we maybe find out what’s going on and what we can do about it?

NOZDORMU: He doesn’t belong here, in the simplest possible terms.

FARANELL: Because I’m not from this time…

GARROSH: But when we went back to old Hillsbrad, we weren’t from THAT time either, and WE didn’t start going all wonky.

SORIDORMI: When you travel through the time portals here, you do so under the protection of the Bronze Flight. The enchantments of our portals shield you from any ill effects from temporal displacement.

LIADRIN: So Edwin is unstable now because he came through to a different time without being insulated?

NOZDORMU: It’s not so simple with him.

GARROSH: That was simple?

MOKVAR: I think it’s about to get worse.

NOZDORMU: It’s not merely that Dr. Faranell isn’t supposed to be here in this time. He’s not meant to be anywhere, in any time. This Faranell, as he has been since he was brought to our time, should not exist. He’s been cut off from his own future, and time itself is reacting against it.

LIADRIN: So he’s essentially been pulled out of his own timeline, and now it’s causing him to rubber-band back to random points in that timeline?

NOZDORMU: Unstuck in time, yes.

FARANELL: So when I’ve flashed into events I don’t remember, it’s because those events were part of…well, the other me’s past rather than mine.

LIADRIN: They were the past you were supposed to have.

NOZDORMU: Or, in some cases, the future meant for you.

GARROSH: Wait, you mean a possible future, right? Isn’t it still in flux or something depending on what we do in the present?

NOZDORMU: Warchief, what did you do yesterday?

GARROSH: I…well, I went over some tactical plans with Nazgrim and Drok, took Mortimer for a ride around Durotar…um…played some Earth Online…

NOZDORMU: Was it pre-ordained that you do those things, do you suppose, or did you choose to do them?

GARROSH: Well, I guess I chose to…right?

NOZDORMU: And the fact that you can look back at them now doesn’t make them any less your decision at the time?

LIADRIN: I think I see where you’re going with this…

GARROSH: I…well, no.

NOZDORMU: The future is already written, Warchief. For you, me, everyone. We still write that destiny ourselves. But we already have written it. We simply must live it one page at a time.

LIADRIN: And now Edwin is flipping back and forth in the book.

GARROSH: Okay, so that sort of explains why Doc is skipping around his timeline. I guess. What about what’s been happening with me and Mokvar and Liadrin?

NOZDORMU: That…I’m not as sure of.

LIADRIN: It has to be connected to what’s happening to Edwin.

NOZDORMU: There’s no doubt of that, certainly. Let me check something. Chronormu!

Chromie teleports in next to Nozdormu.

CHROMIE: Hey, gramps, what’s— <notices Faranell> HOLY SHIT, what happened to HIM?!

FARANELL: Cut off from my own future.

LIADRIN: Unstuck in time.

MOKVAR: I’ve got the notes if you want to catch up real quick.

CHROMIE: Wowie wow, you’re a big ol’ timey-whimey mess!

FARANELL: We’re aware, yes.

SORIDORMI: Chromie, when the good doctor became displaced in time, he appears to have to have have dnuob to nori have he dna have elbisreverri si have appears ti esuaceb appears gniyfirret si ti laernu si ti esuaceb gniyfirret hold ton si ynitsed ruo snoitalosnoc the terces era dna noitarepsed fo stca eb ot line raeppa esrevinu lacimonortsa eht yned ot fles eht some yned ot some noisseccus had some laropmet had yned had ot had had some had some residual effect on…

Soridormi pauses a moment and looks around. Garrosh, Liadrin, and Mokvar look around as well, a bit disoriented, finding that everyone save themselves and Soridormi has disappeared.

Ah. There we are, finally. I was hoping to have a window while you were here.

Garrosh, Liadrin, and Mokvar exchange one more round of looks, then turn back to Soridormi.

Now then, why don’t we get down to business.

 

{TO BE CONTINUED…}

 

Back to the future, part 2

cavernsoftime3

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Back to the future

cavernsoftime2

Okay, so we’re finally back, more or less, and thank the spirits for that, because I was getting really sick of looking human, not to mention not even knowing what verb tenses to use, and plus this whole time travel thing causes way more headaches than it’s worth. Mostly the human-looking thing, though. Although, listen to…hang on.

 

Huh.

Okay, that’s weird. A bunch of my posts aren’t on the blog. They’re all the last bunch of them, so I guess…they just haven’t posted yet? Crap, one MORE complication from the time-travel bullshit, I guess they came out a little further into…well, the future, I guess…than they were supposed to. I suppose that makes sense. The Noz did mention something about there being a time disruption, somewhere right around…you know what, never mind. The rest of the posts should come up on their own soon enough and you’ll see for yourself. Looks like we’re just coming up on the fun part. You know, without there being any actual fun.

This might actually be a good thing, because while the rest of the updates load, that buys me time to deal with some followup on this end, because check out THIS head-scratcher we had waiting for us when we…um…never mind again. Spoilers.

So yeah. Let me shut up and go try to make some sense of…this…thing you don’t need to worry about. And…you sit back and…um…wait to see what the hell I’m talking about, I guess. Or not talking about.

Ugh. I really hate the guy who says shit like that when I’m reading something. Sorry.

 

So it goes

chromie

So check this out! I’m writing to you FROM THE PAST! How freaky is that?

Okay, so, Mokvar just pointed out that ANY writing I’ve done would have to be from the past, seeing as I would have to write it, and then at some point AFTER that you would read it, and so I would ALWAYS be writing from the past, and yeah, thank you, Mokvar, way to piss on my excitement and muddy up what should have been a cool moment. Fuck.

 

Okay, I had to be smack him around a few times for a minute there. I’m back now.

Anyway, though, the point is, I’m not writing to you from the plain-ol’-regular past right now, where I write a blog post and a couple hours later you see it. No, no, I’m writing to you from TEN YEARS AGO. Because GUESS WHERE WE ARE, bitches! Um, I mean, WHEN we are. Although that doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as well. Anyhow.

That’s right, right this minute I’m writing to you from old Hillsbrad. Well, right this minute, to me. To you it’s still ten years ago…okay, you know what, you guys know what I mean, so I’m going to stop trying to keep my verb tenses straight, I’m just going to give myself a headache if I try to keep this shit up.

Anyway, I know what you’re wondering – how the hell can I be connecting to the internet and accessing the here-and-now blog from Hillsbrad ten years ago? I mean, hell, they were still using fucking dial-up back then, right? Well here’s the thing: I had the foresight to bring my laptop on this trip, complete with the why-fly doohickey Spazzle hooked me up with, and so I’m still able to get online using Nozdormu’s wireless network. And I know what you’re going to say next – “but, but, ten years ago!” Well here’s the thing, part two.  The Noz’s wireless network is fucking AMAZING. Everything he does is all time-warpy, and his network is no exception. Hell, ten years is nothing – you can connect to that thing from fucking CENTURIES ago. Not to mention, his built-in spam filter? Not only does it BLOCK all the spam and pop-ups and all that crap, but it locates their source and sends a fucking bronze dragon to roflstomp it and pretty much wipe it clean out of the timestream before it even has the chance to exist. I think he calls the feature iPwn.

So, let me catch you all up on the situation. I traveled through the portal to old Hillsbrad with the rest of my team: me, Mokvar, Faranell, Lady Liadrin, and Utvoch. Dontrag ended up staying out. The Noz made a fuss about six of us going on the trip…for some reason, sending five of us back was no problem, but six, oh boy, sending six was going to be all kinds of logistical headaches. Apparently the time portal takes a huge amount of power to maintain – 1.21 gigawatts, if I remember him right – and trying to squeeze an extra person in was just going to make them blow a fuse or something. At first I tried arguing with him, and made the case that really, Dontrag and Utvoch should only count as one person between them, because seriously, you’ve met them, right? But oh no, he wouldn’t budge, so I just had the two of them do their coin-toss game to see who got to go. Utvoch won – which broke Dontrag’s 89-toss win streak, by the way – and so here he is.

I got the last laugh on the Noz, by the way. Since he wasn’t going to let Dontrag come with us, I told Dontrag to wait for us with Nozdormu and keep him company. BET YOU DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMING, did you, Noz? HAH!

I was having a good chuckle over that while we took the portal, but apparently karma really is a bitch, because Utvoch didn’t waste much time making me think maybe I should have brought the other one. Or neither. Come to think of it, neither’s starting to sound pretty good.

So anyway…we go through the portal, and the bunch of us are getting ourselves situated and checking out each other’s new fugly human looks. Mine’s not a disaster, although I don’t know WHAT’S going on with this beard. Oh and Faranell, check this out, HIS human form? It’s not even a fake human form — he looks like his old self, like what he looked like as a human before he died and got turned undead. Crazy, huh?

Anyhow, we’re all checking this stuff out, when I look up and see Utvoch is already getting mixed up with something. He’s wandered a little ways off to the nearby hillside, and he’s managed to piss off some giant moth that’s buffeting him around with its wings. By the time I can yell “The hell are you doing, fuckwit?” he’s already got the moth dead, but still, we’re supposed to avoid messing around with anything that isn’t necessary while we’re back here. Still, I don’t think too much of it, because what are the odds of any kind of fallout from killing a moth, right?

Yeah. Hold that thought.

So, we take the scenic route so as not to be noticed, sneaking past the outskirts of Tarren Mill past the south road. We make our way south just past the watchtower, and we’re about to make the turn down to Southshore, when what do we spot in the field just off the road? A giant fucking yeti, totally owning a pack of five humans. And like, seriously, this wasn’t one of your garden variety yeti, this was the super-gigantic wendigo variety with the big curving horns and shit, the kind I thought you only saw up in Northrend. And this motherfucker is no joke, because he’s totally laying waste to these people even though they seem to be adventurer types, like with a healer and a volunteer meat shield (although seriously, who the fuck volunteers for that job?). Although by the time we see what’s going on, the meat shield guy is a lot less shield and a lot more meat, mostly of the dead variety, and so now the yeti is running around smacking the rest of them down, and within another minute or so they’re all dead.

At that point, Mr. No Fucking Around Giant Yeti Guy spots us and attacks. Naturally I charge in to intercept him before he starts eating someone squishy like Faranell, and I mostly manage to keep him focused on me while everyone else helps burn him down. Even though, come on, who do you think really did most of the work on that one? Anyway, we get the yeti dead without too much trouble, and we go to have a look at the pile of dead humans, when who should pop in on us but the Noz’s pipsqueak buddy Chromie, and…well, here:

 

Chromie teleports in amid the group.

FARANELL: <jumps> AAH!  Don’t…don’t do that!

CHROMIE: Hiya guys! How’s it—

She looks around at the pile of bodies.

Oh fudge crackers. No, no, no…

UTVOCH: That sounds kind of good, do you have s—

GARROSH: <smacks Utvoch> I’m expanding your ban to all words.

UTVOCH: Sorry, sir.

GARROSH: <pummel> Those were words.

Chromie rubs her forehead, then looks around again.

CHROMIE: Really, guys, you haven’t even been here an hour yet. Gramps is not gonna be happy about this…

LIADRIN: What’s wrong?

CHROMIE: <sigh> Remember how we’d sent some adventurers back here on a mission a few years ago?

LIADRIN: Oh no…

MOKVAR: Crap.

CHROMIE: Yeah. So… <looks around the bodies> That’s them.

FARANELL: I don’t get it, though – we haven’t done anything since we’ve been here, have…?

Faranell trails off as the rest of the group turns to look at Utvoch one by one.

GARROSH: You. Fucking. Idiot.

UTVOCH: Yes sir. <pause> Um, but why, sir?

GARROSH: <pummel>

UTVOCH: OWW! Sorry, sir…

MOKVAR: Not to be the secondary idiot here, but I’m a little confused, to be honest. I get that it has to have something to do with the moth, but how did that end up getting these people killed?

GARROSH: Please tell me they were Alliance, at least.

CHROMIE: Yup, they were.

GARROSH: Okay, silver lining, then.

CHROMIE: And as for the moth… <sighs and rubs her head again> The big guy here was a wendigo named Yettimus, and—

LIADRIN: Really? “Yettimus”? People call him that?

FARANELL: Not anymore.

MOKVAR: It is a little on the nose.

LIADRIN: Should I start calling Mokvar or Utvoch “Orcinator” or some such?

UTVOCH: Oh hey, that would be kinda coo—

GARROSH: <pummel>

UTVOCH: OWW!!

GARROSH: Word ban.

UTVOCH: <starts to open mouth, then nods>

CHROMIE: Sooooooo… Yettimus here used to stay pretty secluded up in the hills until fairly recently – by your time, that is – and he mostly kept himself entertained chasing butterflies.

FARANELL: Simple minds, I guess.

GARROSH: Maybe I need to get a butterfly net for you-know-who.

CHROMIE: But, when you guys arrived, Utvoch wound up killing that moth, and in the original timeline that was supposed to happen, that moth was the one that kept Yettimus occupied for most of the afternoon… And when it wasn’t there to keep him busy, he got bored and went wandering around the fields here, and, well… <sigh>

GARROSH: Ugh… Okay, so, what now? Can we maybe pop back out to our own time, and then come back a few minutes earlier and straighten this out?

LIADRIN: I would imagine not…

CHROMIE: Nope.

GARROSH: How come?

CHROMIE: You can’t double back on your own timeline. Once you get mixed up in a certain set of events, you commit to that timestream, and can’t interfere with your own past.

LIADRIN: Otherwise, you create paradoxes and other like anomalies, correct?

FARANELL: When did you become an expert on this?

CHROMIE: No, she’s dead-on right.

LIADRIN: I’m a student of the philosophies of the Light. I happen to enjoy theoretical discussions.

CHROMIE: And don’t even get me started on the beehive you can get into if you cross your own timeline and interact with yourself. Not even gramps can do that without causing all kinds of problems.

GARROSH: Okay, so we can’t get a do-over on the moth…and I’m guessing you can’t just yank these people back out to avoid getting curbstomped by the yeti…

CHROMIE: Nopers.

GARROSH: Okay, so…what do we do now?

CHROMIE: Well, the you part of the “we” just got a new job while you’re here. And while you do that, the me part of the “we” gets to go update Nozdormu on what’s happening here, which he’s not going to like at all

MOKVAR: So now we need to go make sure Thrall escapes from Durnholde like he’s supposed to?

LIADRIN: It would make sense, to correct the disruption in the timeline…

CHROMIE: I like her! She’s smart.

GARROSH: Not something I get to hear about my minions often…

FARANELL: You know we’re all standing right here, right?

LIADRIN: Wait, “minion”?

MOKVAR: I’m really not liking this business of having to go into Durnholde…

CHROMIE: Well maybe you should have thought of that before you let your ADD squirrel-chasing puppy friend go running around without a leash! Jeepers!

GARROSH: Okay, okay, fine… We’ll go take care of Thrall, just have to juggle that with the original mission, and…ugh…do we at least have time to check on things in Southshore to make sure we’re not already screwed?

CHROMIE: You’ve got a little time before Thrall absolutely has to be in Tarren Mill, so yup. Just be sure to make good time getting in and out of Durnholde when you get there! I’ll check in again later — have fun!

Chromie teleports away again.

 

So, we’re at the inn in Southshore now. One stroke of luck – none of the Silver Hand people have gotten here. Liadrin talked to Kelly the innkeeper and made a little show of some of her paladinny holy crap to make it seem like she was one of Tirion’s people, and found out he’s not expecting his other paladin guests till tomorrow sometime. So we’ve got a little time to work with if we move fast.

While we were getting settled here at the inn, I sent Mokvar and Utvoch to round up the bodies and bury them somewhere. Faranell volunteered to go up with them, too, to help speed up the process. That left Liadrin and I to get us a couple rooms here at the inn, although Kelly gave us a look when I told him she and I each wanted a separate room. Like, dude, really, grow up. Then I mentioned how we had some other people who would be joining us, so we’d need space for more than one in each room, and OH BOY the look from the innkeeper got an upgrade. Like SERIOUSLY, dude, GROW the fuck UP. You run an inn, stop acting like a fourteen-year-old. Or who knows, maybe these humans are easily shocked or something. None of the innkeepers in Silvermoon would bat an eyelash at any of this shit.

Anyway…once the gravediggers’ commission get back, we’ll get rolling on the whole Durnholde thing. Hopefully we can make quick work of that, because the last thing we need is more complications.

 

 

[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!]