Tag Archives: knights of the silver hand

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.]

 

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.

 

Special delivery from Southshore

faranell

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

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

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

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

Faranell.

Here’s mine:

 

Hello Garrosh,

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

So, about him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I want it back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Set us up the bomb

southshorecellar

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

Let me back up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Home stretch

southshore5

So here we go. Edwin tells me Patrick didn’t get in until almost dawn. He’s sleeping in now, but he and Doan managed to finish their work on the bomb canister. I’m not sure if Doan’s set it up yet, but if he hasn’t, he’s sure to tend to it any time now, because by the looks of things downstairs, all the Silver Hand people are getting ready to leave. Tirion and Abbendis have been down at the main desk talking to Kelly for most of the morning, and Mograine’s been carrying stuff back and forth to his horse in the stables next door – not least of which being a bundle wrapped in a sheet that looks to be more or less the same size as the chest he had been using to transport the crystal.

Edwin took off a little while ago to track down Kel’Thuzad. He’s going to tell him he tried to snoop on the paladins, but it didn’t look like they were up to much of anything, and he couldn’t get anything out of Patrick that would suggest otherwise. Hopefully that’s going to send KT on his way and keep him from poking around any further. Says when he gets back he’s going to stick around the room until Patrick wakes up, and then maybe go to the shore with him and fish a little until we’re all ready to go.

After Edwin left, Mokvar mentioned he was a little concerned about all the time Faranell’s been spending hanging out with his brother the last couple days. Liadrin gave him sort of a half-hearted endorsement – her take was that the more time our boy spends hanging around with faces from the past, the more space there’s going to be for him to slip up continuity-wise. Although I get the sense Mokvar wasn’t so worried about the timeline as just where Edwin’s head is at right now. I can see where they’re both coming from, but I pretty much told them to give it a rest. The way I see it, Faranell’s been un-living with the memory of a dead brother for years, and right now he’s got that brother alive and well right in front of him. If he wants to soak up whatever time he can with him while he has the chance…well, I get it. Extra chances don’t come along very often.

One last thing – want to hear something awesome? I just looked out the window a few minutes ago to check on Edwin, and I saw maybe the greatest thing this side of Utvoch getting polymorphed. Tirion’s kid was running around in front of the inn, playing with his frog. Then along comes this other kid from the town – name of Herod, I think – and basically beats the snot out of Taelan, swipes the frog, and makes off with it! And I honestly don’t know what’s better – the fact that Taelan got his ass kicked and lost the frog, or the thought of what’s going to happen later on when Herod’s got the frog and it poofs back into Faranell v1.0. Just…win all over the place.

It sounds like there’s some kind of commotion going on next door, so I’m going to go check on that. I’ll update you once that’s cleared up or when we’re making our move on the anti-plague thingy. Whichever comes first. Stay tuned.

 

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!]

 

A bad comedy waiting to happen

hillsbrad

Pieces are starting to come together here. Maybe a few too many for comfort.

Tirion Fordring – the younger, not-quite-so-old-and-gray version – arrived here late last night, with his buddies Isilien and Abbendis in tow. We overheard Tirion talking with Kelly the innkeeper (lucky for us, young Tirion isn’t much more concise than old Tirion, so it wasn’t hard to keep up with his end of the conversation), and from what he was saying it sounds like Mograine and his people could be arriving any time today. So we’re coming up on go time for the mission here. And just when I thought things were lining up conveniently for us for once, what with us having just enough lead time to get ourselves positioned perfectly, of course the other shoe has to drop.

Let me explain. The original plan was to have Liadrin and Faranell camp out in the inn common room to see what they can gather when the Silver Hand people are all assembled – those two made the most sense for the job, seeing as they’re sort of the experts, Faranell on all matters plaguey, Liadrin on the possible light crystal angle. Meanwhile, I was keeping Mokvar and Utvoch out of sight in the rooms upstairs…what with Kel’Thuzad still being on the loose, and having seen those two, I wanted to keep them out of view as much as possible, just in case. And I know what you’re thinking, shouldn’t I be just as concerned about Faranell being in plain sight in the common room? Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s not ideal, but I wanted him down there as an expert witness and shit. I was going to keep myself stationed outside, so if Kel’Thuzad turned up, I could high-tail it inside and give Faranell the signal to make himself scarce.

And yeah, how about that? After all these years, promoted all the way up to fucking Warchief, and what job am I stuck doing out of necessity? Fucking lookout. The things I do for the sake of the mission…

Anyway, it wasn’t a perfect plan, I know, but it was the best option available. That is, until Fuckyall, the pissy god of Not So Fast Garrosh, decided to throw us another plot twist, because guess who else picked tonight to turn up in Southshore? Yeah, you guessed it, Faranell the Younger. Or Faranell v1.0. Whatever you want to call him. He came sauntering into town this morning with some other dude I don’t recognize, which sent me right on into the inn – in every bit the happy mood you would imagine – to rush our Faranell on out of sight. Ain’t that just a bitch?

So now, I’m going to be helping Liadrin watch over things in the common room, while…well…absolutely everybody else stays hidden away upstairs. Oh, and for one extra little sprinkle of joy over all of this, Tirion also happened to bring along his little snot-nosed kid, who must have eaten EVERY LAST PIECE OF CANDY IN ANDORHAL on the way down, if his foot-stomping wall-bouncing little-kid-screeching sugar high is any indication. The kid’s mostly been hanging around upstairs, so on top of being sequestered, the rest of the guys also get to be stuck right underneath the little walking noise machine. Which…you know, come to think of it, that’s actually kind of funny. Especially the part where Utvoch’s one of the ones stuck there.

Anyhow, with any luck things will start happening here quickly. I’ll keep you all updated.

 

 

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

 

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!]