So we finally have things in motion to find out just what Isilien and Doan wind up doing with the light crystal. We’re hoping we can stay close to whatever we’re doing, and then get a read on whatever kind of magic they end up using the create the anti-plague effect. To that end, we brought a special magic component – something called a chameleon shard. When it’s put in close proximity to a magically-charged object or field, it attunes itself to it and basically recreates the magic properties inside its own…crystalline…matrix, I think it is? Anyway, point is, it sucks up a carbon copy of the magic close to it and locks it up so we can take it with us without it going kablooey, and once we have THAT done at the original, untriggered source of this thing, we should be able to use it to create a counter-effect.
Which leads us to the latest meeting of the minds from this morning…
MOKVAR: So what’s the game plan for tonight?
GARROSH: Isilien said we should pay him a visit after dark tonight. By that point, with any luck, he’ll have finished whatever he’s been working on with Doan, and we can get a look at the end results.
MOKVAR: What if it’s still a work in progress?
GARROSH: Well, then I guess we get to follow the ongoing work.
FARANELL: That could end up being helpful in itself. Depending on just what they’re doing, watching them actually formulating it might make it easier to determine a way to counter it.
MOKVAR: One thing, though. If you’re there, and they’re still working on it, won’t they want you guys to help them with it?
MOKVAR: Won’t that be a problem? I mean, I’m guessing we weren’t supposed to create the problem we came back in time to try to solve.
LIADRIN: Maybe. Maybe not. For all we know, we were always part of the creation of this thing.
GARROSH: Either way, we can try to keep our help to a minimum, at least.
LIADRIN: It shouldn’t be terribly difficult to create the appearance of helping without interfering too much. Just listen to what they’re already thinking, then nudge them further in that direction without really feeding them any ideas they wouldn’t have come to regardless.
GARROSH: Also, Mokvar, I’m going to have you stay back for this one. You and Utvoch wait here in the room, or hang out downstairs if it looks clear, but I’m just going to go with Liadrin and Faranell, since they’re the ones who really need to check on this thing up close.
MOKVAR: Whatever you say, chief.
LIADRIN: Is there anything else we need to have in place before we go?
GARROSH: The only other thing is having the chameleon shard ready, in case they manage to get their little doohickey completely done tonight.
FARANELL: You’ve been holding it, haven’t you, Utvoch? I should probably give it a few arcane charges before we go, to have it warmed up just in case.
UTVOCH: Yeah, I’ve got it here.
Utvoch sets down his pack and starts digging through it.
MOKVAR: Say, Garrosh, I just realized, are you sure you don’t want me coming tonight to take notes?
GARROSH: <shakes head> Isilien was already less than thrilled about bringing in more people, and Doan didn’t seem like he’s going to be very friendly. I don’t want to push my luck inviting more people than necessary to the party, much less setting off any bells by having someone hanging around writing down everything everyone says.
MOKVAR: Yeah, true. I was just thinking this might be the part of the trip where we’d especially like to keep a record of things.
LIADRIN: I can always write it up after we’re done, as well. I do agree it’s to our benefit to record as much of this as possible, especially in case we need to keep our stories straight for timeline purposes.
FARANELL: I can help with that when you’re working on it. I have an eidetic memory, so I should be able to cover most of what ends up being said.
UTVOCH: <still rifling around in his pack> Wait, you dead what?
FARANELL: No, eidetic.
LIADRIN: It means a photographic memory.
UTVOCH: Oh. What’s photographic?
GARROSH: Hold on. You have an eidetic memory?
FARANELL: Yeah. I was tested for it as a kid and everything. <chuckles> Only reason Patrick didn’t wind up three grades ahead of me.
GARROSH: So can I ask you something?
GARROSH: If you’re supposed to have this uber-memory, how come you’re always forgetting shit?
MOKVAR: You do seem pretty forgetful sometimes.
FARANELL: I don’t know why people keep saying that.
GARROSH: Because it’s true?
FARANELL: I’ll have you know, I can recite back to you every book I’ve read in the last five years.
LIADRIN: Well, it might just be that he has excellent recall of specific sights and sounds, or language? But broader events slip his memory sometimes?
FARANELL: “Our first day went as well as one can expect first days to go. Most of our time was preoccupied with making the necessary arrangements to establish a base camp. I located an ideal setting by a freshwater river inlet. Judging by the old, abandoned docks nearby, this site was inhabited sometime ago. As for the original inhabitants, only time can tell that tale.” Just saying.
GARROSH: Okay, fine, you have a perfect memory except for when you don’t. Go ahead and help Liadrin with the recordkeeping if it makes you happy.
UTVOCH: So, um, guys? I think we have a problem.
MOKVAR: Oh no.
FARANELL: Here we go.
GARROSH: What is it?
UTVOCH: Well, um…I don’t think the shard is here.
LIADRIN: That’s kind of bad.
GARROSH: What. Do you mean. The shard. Isn’t HERE?
UTVOCH: I don’t know, I was keeping it in my pack, only it’s not here now…
FARANELL: Let me see that.
Faranell grabs the pack from Utvoch and starts sifting through its contents, tossing assorted pieces of junk onto the floor.
GARROSH: Fucking hell, Utvoch, you had ONE FUCKING JOB on this trip…
FARANELL: Nope…nope… No – for goodness’ sake, man, how many comic books do you need?
LIADRIN: Could someone have gotten to it while you were away from the room or some such?
UTVOCH: No, it’s been in that pack since we got here, and I’ve kept the pack with me the entire time.
MOKVAR: You’re sure you didn’t leave it alone around someone?
UTVOCH: Of course I didn’t, what do you think I’m stupid or something?
Everyone looks around at each other for a moment.
GARROSH: You know what? Any other time that would have been really funny, but right now I’m not in the fucking mood.
FARANELL: <handing the pack brusquely back to Utvoch> Well, that settles it. It’s definitely not here.
UTVOCH: <looking through pack again> Hey, I had a Nutterbar in here that’s gone, too.
MOKVAR: Utvoch, nobody cares about your stupid candy bar.
GARROSH: Hang on.
LIADRIN: Oh no.
GARROSH: Utvoch, you’re SURE you’ve kept that pack with you the whole time we’ve been in Southshore?
GARROSH: <rubbing his head> Yeah… So…
GARROSH: Shiny, gimmicky-looking crystal, AND a candy bar missing, AND he’s been spending almost all his time doing what…?
LIADRIN: <sighs> By the Light, Utvoch…
UTVOCH: Spending all my time…? Oh CRAP, you think the kid took it?
GARROSH: Tirion’s brat is the only person you’ve been around for any length of time since we’ve been here. Unless you think THRALL made off with it?
UTVOCH: Do you think Thrall would have taken—OWW!
MOKVAR: Hey, um, why is there all this smoke in here all of sudden?
GARROSH: Of COURSE Thrall wouldn’t have taken it!
LIADRIN: There isn’t something burning, is there?
FARANELL: No, this isn’t ffrroomm aa ffiirree.
MOKVAR: Wwhhyy aarree yyoouu ttaallkkiinngg ssoo ssllooww—oohh, nneevveerr mmiinndd…
GARROSH: OOhh bbooyyy. HHHeeerrreee wwweee gggooo aaagggaaaiiinnn….
The smoke thickens as Soridormi and Chromie teleport into the room, flanking the door. A few seconds later, Nozdormu strolls pimps [Word choice revised at the Warchief’s insistence. –Mkvr., ed.] into the room in slow motion.
NOZDORMU: Greetings, Warchief.
CHROMIE: Hiya, guys!
GARROSH: Hey— <waves his hand around in front of his face for a moment to see if it’s moving at normal speed> Okay, that’s better. Hey Noz.
MOKVAR: Is that really necessary?
NOZDORMU: Is what really necessary?
Soridormi, standing behind Nozdormu, shakes her head vigorously while waving one hand side to side.
MOKVAR: Never mind.
GARROSH: So I’m guessing this isn’t just a social call.
NOZDORMU: Indeed, Warchief.
SORIDORMI: We’re concerned that something may be amiss with your mission.
FARANELL: Oh, you have no idea.
NOZDORMU: I’ve detected a disturbance in the timeline, located roughly around this point. At this stage it’s difficult for me to pinpoint its origin exactly; whatever the key events are, I suspect they’re still in their early stages of unfolding, and without my Aspect powers I find my ability to see through the cracks in the timeline more limited than they were. Nevertheless, something in the proper progression of these events has been disrupted.
MOKVAR: Yeah, um…
GARROSH: About that.
FARANELL: Really? So we traveled back ten years, got a bunch of Alliance from the future killed in the past, there’s two copies of me running around within like ten yards of each other, we’ve dropped a highly sensitive and powerful magical attunement device into the hands of a kid who’s going to grow up to be a xenophobic nutjob—
CHROMIE: You really want to get that back pronto, by the way.
FARANELL: —and now you’re telling us that something has been disrupted in the timeline? Imagine my astonishment.
NOZDORMU: You know, it’s not too late for me to skip back about thirty years and arrange for a certain someone never to have been born.
GARROSH: At the rate this is going, could you get me too on the way back?
MOKVAR: Wouldn’t it be better just to erase Utvoch?
GARROSH: You know what? Good call. Let’s go with that instead.
UTVOCH: Wait, what? He’s going to do what to me?
GARROSH: Shouldn’t you be busy right now THINKING ABOUT WHAT YOU’VE DONE?
UTVOCH: Sorry, sir.
NOZDORMU: At…any rate.
SORIDORMI: I wish we could give you more specific information, but unfortunately…
NOZDORMU: All I can really tell you is that something is amiss, but still very much in flux. You need to take extreme care not to cause any further disturbances in the events of this time, and get back to your own time as quickly as possible.
FARANELL: So, in other words, don’t mess up. Thanks, that helps a lot.
NOZDORMU: Or I could fast-forward you up to the day of your death. That could work too, you know.
FARANELL: Already been there, actually.
NOZDORMU: Would you like a return trip?
SORIDORMI: <giving Nozdormu a gentle tug on the shoulder> We…know this is a hectic and confusing time for you all. We simply mean to impress upon you the importance of the utmost caution.
GARROSH: Believe me, nobody wants to find the source of that anti-plague thing and get out of here without a fuss more than me.
LIADRIN: And by the looks of it, I’d say we’re not far off.
UTVOCH: Can I ask a stupid question?
GARROSH: Like nobody I’ve ever met.
GARROSH: Never mind. Ask.
UTVOCH: Well okay, you guys are going to try to see what caused that thing that’s killing the undead, right?
GARROSH: Only a week in and you’ve already pieced that together, huh? You’re getting sharp on me.
FARANELL: In other words, yes.
UTVOCH: Well then, begging your pardon, Warchief, not to question your great and imperious judgment, but while we’re here, couldn’t we just stop those guys from doing it in the first place?
LIADRIN, NOZDORMU, and SORIDORMI: <overlapping> No.
UTVOCH: Oh. Why not?
UTVOCH: Wait, parrot oxes? You mean we’ll create some weird new animal or something?
CHROMIE: Oi, this one’s a shitake mushroom for brains…
UTVOCH: Actually, you know, parrot oxes could be kind of cool…
LIADRIN: No. Paradoxes. If we prevent the anti-plague from being created in the past, when we get to the future, the anti-plague won’t exist, but then there won’t be a reason for us to come to the past anymore, so we won’t, so then the anti-plague will be created, and so forth, in an endless self-canceling loop.
CHROMIE: See, see, I told you I liked her!
UTVOCH: …So you could have the parrot oxes plowing the fields, but while they’re doing that they could talk, and that would probably make the work go faster since I bet working in the fields for hours gets pretty boring, and—
Utvoch finds himself unable to finish his sentence, as his train of thought is interrupted by his unplanned transformation into a sheep.
FARANELL: Okay. That’s enough from him.
LIADRIN: Ha! You polymorphed him?
GARROSH: Dude, that’s…that’s just…I don’t even have a word for how much awesome that is.
MOKVAR: Hmm, you know, that’s giving me an idea…
NOZDORMU: At this point I suppose we should leave you to your work…
CHROMIE: You definitely want to work on getting that shard thingy back fast.
LIADRIN: I would imagine Tirion would be a fairly strict father. I suppose if we told him we think his son might have stolen something, he would—
GARROSH: Maybe make the kid give it back, yeah, and maybe ask “Oh, so what is this thing my kid swiped? Oh, a magical shard, what for?” And maybe ask Doan about it, who almost definitely is going to know his chameleon shards. And maybe Tirion gets curious about what these people hanging out with Isilien have one of THOSE for…
LIADRIN: Hmm, true, probably too risky, I suppose…
CHROMIE: Oh feldercarb, you people need to stop dancing around it! Just grab the kid and steal it back! What’s he going to do, stop you? He’s a kid!
FARANELL: Well, to be fair, he could call his fairly powerful, well-connected paladin dad, who we absolutely can’t harm while we’re here, so…
CHROMIE: Fine, fine, so you just keep him incapacitated while you steal it! You can…well jiminy, Faranell could sheep him just like Utvoch…
CHROMIE: Or you could hex him, or, I don’t care, Throwdown or Repentance, or… flipping flux capacitor, you’ve got a room full of crowd control here, do you really need me drawing a diagram for you guys?
GARROSH: Wow, you’ve REALLY got a yen for us to mug this kid, don’t you?
CHROMIE: Hey, do you want your thingymabob back or not?
MOKVAR: Actually, along those lines, I was thinking… Since you all have powers over time, would it be possible for you to give one of us…well, a buff, I suppose. To prolong the duration of a spell like polymorph?
CHROMIE: Huh… What do you think, skipper?
NOZDORMU: It would be simple enough, though such an enhancement would have to have a very limited number of charges…
FARANELL: You’re thinking you’d want me to hit Taelan with a super-polymorph?
MOKVAR: Actually I was thinking more of my hex. What I had in mind—
The door to the room swings open and Kelly the innkeeper barges in.
KELLY: Hey, what’s going on up here? I’m hearing all kinds of noise down in the… <looks down at Utvoch the sheep> …lobby…
GARROSH: Oh, hey, um…
LIADRIN: There’s…a very simple explanation for that.
FARANELL: Yes, there is, although regrettably it reflects rather poorly on all of us…
KELLY: What the blazes are you people doing with a sheep up here? We don’t… <glances over and notices Nozdormu and Soridormi> …High elves? Gracious, we haven’t seen high elves in Southshore in I don’t know how long. I didn’t think you went slumming far beyond Dalaran…
SORIDORMI: Yes, well…
GARROSH: Um, yeah, I can explain them, too.
NOZDORMU: You can?
SORIDORMI: He can.
NOZDORMU: I hope so.
KELLY: I’m listening.
GARROSH: Look… Mr. Kelly… I’m going to level with you. Clearly you, um, you’re an observant guy, so you must be aware that there’s a lot of strange business going on around here these days.
KELLY: Mostly since you lot turned up, yes.
GARROSH: Right. Well. Um, yes, that’s why we’re here, you see. My people and I are…um…special investigators sent by the king. We have a…a number of leads concerning some suspicious activities leading us to Southshore, and me and my fellow royal investigators are here to…um…investigate. Royally.
FARANELL: <aside to Garrosh> Smooth.
KELLY: The king sent… Wait, which king?
GARROSH: Which king? Oh, well… <aside to Liadrin> Who’s the king now?
LIADRIN: <aside> Of which kingdom?
GARROSH: <aside, hissing> Just GIVE ME A FUCKING NAME!
GARROSH: Terenas! Yes, yes, good old King Terenas!
KELLY: Ahh, all right, so you’re sent from here in Lordaeron. For a minute, as strange as you were acting, I thought you might have been sent from Stormwind or some such damn thing.
GARROSH: Oh no, no, we’re definitely looking out for dear old Lordaeron.
KELLY: A good thing, too, as I was going to have words for you if you said you’d been sent by that hot-headed damn brat of a king they have down there!
GARROSH: Wait, brat…? You mean Varian?
KELLY: Yessir! Fuck that Varian, if you ladies will pardon my language!
GARROSH: Oh HELL yes! I KNEW I liked you, Kelly! I’ll be sure to give a fine report on you to good old Tyranus.
GARROSH: Whoever the fuck he is!
KELLY: Well hold on now.
KELLY: First of all, you say you’re royal investigators, and that sounds all well and good, but how do I know you’re telling the truth?
GARROSH: I…have an honest face?
KELLY: Lots of liars do! If you’re really sent by the king, you surely must have sort of papers to prove you are who you say you are.
GARROSH: Oh. Right. Where did I put those…um…
Nozdormu and Soridormi exchange a look, Soridormi nods, and Nozdormu sighs briefly.
NOZDORMU: Did you forget…Inspector? You asked me to hold your royal orders.
GARROSH: I did?
NOZDORMU: <glaring> I don’t know, did you?
GARROSH: OH RIGHT. I did. Yes. You have the documents on you, then?
NOZDORMU: <handing Garrosh some papers> Here you are, Inspector.
GARROSH: Uh, but these are blank—
SORIDORMI: I’m sure, Inspector, if you let good Mr. Kelly here review the documents, he’ll find everything is in order…
GARROSH: Right, right, sure…
Garrosh hands the papers to Kelly, who flips through them for a moment.
KELLY: Well, you’re right…I would know Terenas’ seal anywhere… I suppose you are who you say…
GARROSH: Hell yes! Now if you’ll excuse us, Mr. Kelly—
KELLY: <turning to face Nozdormu, Soridormi, and Chromie> I’m still curious what business high elves have with this investigation of yours, though, Inspector. And…a gnome?
GARROSH: Ah. Right, well, you see, Mr. Kelly, these are special undercover agents, on loan from Silvermoon and…someplace where there are gnomes. Regrettably. Anyway, these are my top operatives – The Legs, The Noz, and Mrs. Robbin’-Son.
CHROMIE: I hate you.
GARROSH: No you don’t.
KELLY: Huh. I see. Well I suppose that explains that—
Behind Kelly’s back, Utvoch’s polymorph wears off and he poofs back into his human appearance.
UTVOCH: The hell was—
Liadrin slaps a hand over Utvoch’s mouth, and she and Faranell pull him back to stand with them.
KELLY: —but you still haven’t accounted for having a damned sheep in your room!
LIADRIN: What sheep?
FARANELL: I don’t see a sheep.
UTVOCH: Did you guys not see—OWW!!
KELLY: <looking around> It was right here when I first came in.
GARROSH: Are you sure?
MOKVAR: I don’t remember there being a sheep in here.
FARANELL: I’m pretty sure I would have noticed if there were a sheep in my room.
GARROSH: I wouldn’t be much of an inspector if I’d missed something like that.
LIADRIN: Certainly not one of the king’s select agents.
GARROSH: Yep yep. Right hand man of King Terribad, that’s me.
LIADRIN: Actually, it’s Tere—
GARROSH: It’s what his friends call him.
LIADRIN: Of course.
KELLY: Hmm… Well… It must be gone now. Though I haven’t a notion of where it could have gone. I know there was something up here making noises!
LIADRIN: Mr. Kelly, perhaps you should get some rest. I’m concerned that you may be working too hard and starting to imagine things.
KELLY: I’m not imagining things, missy. I’m sure I heard a sheep up in this—
Kelly finds himself unable to finish his sentence, as his assertion is interrupted by his transformation into a sheep.
GARROSH: Well I’ll be damned. He’s right.
FARANELL: Did you have a way in mind to get him to leave? That didn’t also involve gallons of delightful irony?
GARROSH: Okay, okay, Utvoch, you herd the innkeeper on downstairs real quick, and then we can get back to business.
UTVOCH: Yes, sir.
NOZDORMU: And, for my part, I believe the time has come for me to make my exit. Before I’m forced to witness any more absurdity that I can never unwitness.
GARROSH: Later, Noz.
SORIDORMI: <aside> I don’t know why it surprises you, of all people.
NOZDORMU: <aside> It’s not that it surprises me, it’s just… Ugh, that one in particular.
SORIDORMI: <aside> Well don’t blame me. I didn’t have to find a nice Mag’har girl to get to coincidentally cross paths with Grom…
NOZDORMU: <aside> I know, I know, I thought it would calm him down a bit.
SORIDORMI: <aside> And how did that work out?
So anyway…as much as I’d like to invest some more time in beating some sense (or unconsciousness) into Utvoch, that’s going to have to wait for now. Mokvar seems to have some kind of brainstorm for something we can do, and we’re starting to run short on time, so we’ve got to get things rolling. More soon.