Wibbly wobbly, timey whimey

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

NOZDORMU:  Well that’s different.

GARROSH:  How is it different?

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

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

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

GARROSH:  I know, I know.  Just sayin’.

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

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

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

GARROSH:  What about Kalecgos?

NOZDORMU:  What about him?

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

NOZDORMU:  For about a week.

GARROSH:  Well, still.

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

GARROSH:  Oh.

NOZDORMU:  I’m not sure, though.

GARROSH:  Ah, okay.

NOZDORMU:  Yeah.

Garrosh, Faranell, and Liadrin exchange awkward looks.

GARROSH:  So about the Hillsbrad thing.

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

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

CHROMIE:  Hiya!

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

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

CHROMIE:  Yup, that’s me!

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

CHROMIE:  Oh sure we ha—

NOZDORMU:  I mean he.  Hasn’t met you.

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

GARROSH:  Should…I be worried about something here?

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

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

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

CHROMIE:  Why?  What’s wrong with gnomes?

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

MOKVAR:  Oh boy, here we go.

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

FARANELL:  Even I know better than to…yeah…

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

MOKVAR:  Every day with the gnomes…

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHROMIE:  Thanks, gramps!

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

UTVOCH:  Most inconceivable of you, sir—

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

UTVOCH:  Sorry, sir…

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

CHROMIE:  Woot!

GARROSH:  But what was that thing about complications?

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

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

Crickets.

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

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

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

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

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

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

NOZDORMU:  Because someone already did.

GARROSH:  The what you say?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LIADRIN:  This is actually kind of fascinating.

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

GARROSH:  Well, yeah, I guess…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FARANELL:  For instance, they’re idiots.

LIADRIN:  Well yes, I gathered that much.

GARROSH:  ANYWAY.

DONTRAG:  No, not her alt, I mean—

GARROSH:  <pummel>

DONTRAG:  OWW!!

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

Nozdormu stares at Garrosh somberly for a moment.

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

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

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

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

NOZDORMU:  Ahem.  Yes, yes, of course.

GARROSH:  Umm, the hell was that shit about?

NOZDORMU:  Hmm.  One moment.

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

.tnemom enO  .mmH  :UMRODZON

?tuoba tihs taht saw lleh eht ,mmU  :HSORRAG

.esruoc fo ,sey ,seY  .mehA  :UMRODZON

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

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

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

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

NOZDORMU:  Yes, basically.

CHROMIE:  Whew.  That’s better.

NOZDORMU:  Much.

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

NOZDORMU:  Indeed.

GARROSH:  Uh, what are you two babbling about?

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

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

NOZDORMU:  No, I don’t think so.

GARROSH:  Huh, weird.  Déjà vu.

 

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

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4 Responses to “Wibbly wobbly, timey whimey”

  1. Great read! I looove when witty banter is added into a story–it tells it so well. I like it! :-)

  2. After calling him ‘The Noz’, I will be picturing him wearing a black leather jacket and blue jeans forever. Maybe that’s just me, though.

    • He DOES seem kind of preoccupied with looking cool, come to think of it…

    • Nooo, don’t cover him up! I love his pecs!

      …What are you all staring at? I was simply expressing my appreciation of Nozdormu’s discerning tastes.

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