The fire in which we burn
Dranosh left with the Windrunner for Theramore. He brought Dontrag and Utvoch, which, I mean, I know this is really no time for jokes, but…HAHA! Poor fucker. Anyway, he’s going to see if he can find Faranell there, or in Thunder Bluff if need be. One way or another, Mokvar and I will meet him there when we’re done on our end.
We got Mokvar hooked up with a wyvern, and we both flew down from Ashenvale to Tanaris. Soridormi was there to greet us when we arrived at the Caverns of Time.
SORIDORMI: Overlord. Or do you still prefer “Warchief” in this reality? It’s so hard to know what to call certain people.
GARROSH: Doesn’t matter. Call me whatever.
SORIDORMI: Oh? So if I decide “Roshy” has a nice ring to it…?
GARROSH: Don’t get clever.
SORIDORMI: <wry grin> I’m afraid it’s far too late for that.
GARROSH: <grumbles> Fine, whatever. While you’re being all smug and smart, though, how about this – last time I was here, seems to me you might have, you know, neglected to mention a few minor details about this world.
SORIDORMI: In fairness, I did tell you all that there were other events that played out differently.
GARROSH: Which you totally made sound like “I’m just glossing over this since it’s not really that important.”
SORIDORMI: Did I? Hardly. Every moment is important, Garrosh. But at the time, there was no telling how much longer I had to detail matters further. We were – if you’ll pardon the expression – working on borrowed time.
GARROSH: And now?
SORIDORMI: This timeline has taken…a much firmer hold.
MOKVAR: The last few times we’ve shifted, our time here has gotten longer, and our time in the original timeline has gotten shorter…
SORIDORMI: <nods> This timeline is taking over as the predominant one. That overwriting of your reality will soon be complete, if it isn’t already.
GARROSH: Well then, since we’re in like 2% less of a rush now, how about you fill in a few gaps for us. Starting with, say, why it is that Orgrimmar is overrun right now by the Burning Legion and the Scourge, both of which we had pretty well under control last I checked.
SORIDORMI: In both cases, everything hinges on certain unexpected events involving the Battle of the Wrathgate.
GARROSH: Go on…
SORIDORMI: After the Alliance and Horde set aside their petty conflicts and united against the Lich King, Tirion Fordring’s Argent Crusade was able to assemble a strike force of the greatest champions from both factions. The team that Fordring would lead into Icecrown Citadel for the final assault would be far mightier even than the one that defeated Arthas in your timeline.
GARROSH: Okay, so I’m not seeing how that leads to things being WORSE.
SORIDORMI: It didn’t, at first. But you’ll recall, in the time leading up to the attack, the Lich King’s chief researcher was not Professor Putricide – Patrick Faranell – but Putress.
Soridormi holds out her hand and summons an image of Rotface and Festergut.
IMAGE OF ROTFACE: Daddy make toys out of you! WEEEEEE!
IMAGE OF FESTERGUT: Dead, dead, dead! Daddy, I did it!
SORIDORMI: Putricide’s most formidable creations, while strong, were ultimately…limited. Undermined by a lingering sentimentality that Putricide would carry into undeath from another life.
She shakes her hand, and the image changes to that of Patrick Faranell.
IMAGE OF PATRICK: Between you, me, and the walls, I’d rather like to have a couple sons… I remember how much Dad seemed to enjoy himself with us.
SORIDORMI: Putress’ malevolent ingenuity would have no such…humanity to temper it. He would furnish the Lich King with constructs more monstrous and strains of blight more virulent than anything known to your timeline.
GARROSH: Um, didn’t I ask you THIS VERY THING about Putress the last time?
SORIDORMI: You did. I didn’t give you an answer.
GARROSH: INDEED YOU DIDN’T.
MOKVAR: I think we might have distracted her, actually.
GARROSH: Whose side are you on?
MOKVAR: I’m on the side of us not standing around bickering over who said what and why.
GARROSH: Fine. So Putress invented some powerful shit, boy, don’t know why you never thought of that, Garrosh, go on please.
SORIDORMI: Strengthened by Putress’ creations, the Lich King would ultimately defeat Fordring’s even mightier strike force.
MOKVAR: So some of the most powerful heroes against the Scourge, from the Horde and Alliance, were all killed.
SORIDORMI: <pauses grimly> It would have been a kindness had they merely been killed.
Soridormi waves her hand, summoning a likeness of the Lich King.
IMAGE OF THE LICH KING: You trained them well, Fordring. You delivered the greatest fighting force this world has ever known…right into my hands – exactly as I intended.
MOKVAR: By the spirits…
GARROSH: He raised them as his minions…
SORIDORMI: And then killed Tirion Fordring. <closes her eyes a moment> And then raised him…
IMAGE OF THE LICH KING: You could’ve been my greatest champion, Fordring. A force of darkness that would wash over this world and deliver it into a new age of strife.
SORIDORMI: …to lead his new army of Deathbringers.
Garrosh and Mokvar exchange troubled looks.
GARROSH: Okay… Bad news part one done… Now what about the demons?
SORIDORMI: A further consequence of the defeat in Icecrown Citadel… You may recall, in your time, after the fall of the Lich King, some of his former minions would find for themselves…new allegiances.
Soridormi conjures a shimmering likeness of Sylvanas Windrunner.
IMAGE OF SYLVANAS: With the death of the Lich King, many of the more intelligent Scourge became…unemployed… They are under my command now…
SORIDORMI: With the Lich King victorious, the val’kyr would never ally themselves with Sylvanas. Which would prove…unfortunate for the Forsaken.
Soridormi waves her hand. Above her palm appears an image of Sylvanas with Lord Godfrey and High Warlord Cromush at the Greymane Wall.
IMAGE OF SYLVANAS: Soldiers of the Horde! We are victorious! Lordaeron is w—
The image of Lord Godfrey draws a pistol and shoots Sylvanas point-blank. She immediately falls dead on the ground.
IMAGE OF CROMUSH: What have you done, Godfrey?!
IMAGE OF GODFREY: Something that should have been done a long time ago, you filthy animal. Gilneas belongs to me, and so soon will the rest of Lordaeron!
SORIDORMI: In your timeline, Sylvanas was resurrected by her val’kyr servants. Here, she had no val’kyr to save her. Sylvanas Windrunner died – for the second and final time. In the aftermath of her death, leadership of the Undercity would pass to Sylvanas’ second, her majordomo of several years.
The nathrezim Varimathras.
GARROSH: Varimathras? How? He’s…dead…oh no…
MOKVAR: <head sinks> The Wrathgate…
SORIDORMI: <nods> Without Putress in the Undercity, Varimathras had no collaborator with whom to conspire against the Banshee Queen. There was never a coup against Sylvanas. And without the coup against Sylvanas, Varimathras was never exposed as the traitor he was — his true loyalties to the Burning Legion never revealed. He carried on unimpeded, not only free to continue his scheming in the Undercity, but eventually becoming its leader. Much time did not pass before he carried out his master plan…
She waves her hand again, summoning the fiery red likeness of a monstrous eredar.
…and summoned Kil’jaeden the Deceiver into this world. Bringing with him countless legions of demons from the Twisted Nether. Bringing with him the Second Fall of Lordaeron. Most of the Eastern Kingdoms was soon to follow.
GARROSH: Fucking hell…
MOKVAR: Soridormi… Edwin is in this world now, we think. If we can get him here, is there still time to undo all this?
SORIDORMI: If we can get him back to Southshore, we should be able to reset the timelines with both Edwins at the points they need to be.
GARROSH: Okay, great, so we’ll just collect him and get him down here and—
SORIDORMI: Actually getting him to old Southshore, though, is no easy task, and not without problems.
GARROSH: Dammit, I thought if I said that fast enough we could get out before the “but” kicked in.
MOKVAR: What’s the problem?
SORIDORMI: Sending Edwin back to period to which he’s already time-traveled involves crossing his own timeline in ways that no mortal was meant to do.
GARROSH: Ah…the whole “no double-dipping” thing.
SORIDORMI: To open a stable time portal for such a repeat incursion will require me to channel immense amounts of power – far more than I can summon up myself.
GARROSH: What about the Noz? He’s the head honcho time guy anyway, couldn’t he pull it off?
SORIDORMI: I am…the most powerful member of the Bronze Flight here.
GARROSH: How does that work? I mean I get that you’ve got this secret super time vision and whatever, but no offense, how did you get to be more powerful than Noz?
SORIDORMI: I’m not.
GARROSH: So what gives? Where is he, any…oh…oh no…
SORIDORMI: <looks down a moment> For a number of reasons…the final confrontation with Deathwing proved…far more costly in this timeline than in the other.
GARROSH: I… Wow do I feel like a jackass.
MOKVAR: This is what it finally took, huh?
GARROSH: So…we need a power source to tap into, then?
SORIDORMI: That’s right.
Garrosh stares off to one side, thinking anxiously.
MOKVAR: Not to bring up bad memories, Soridormi, but I don’t suppose the Dragon Soul is an option?
SORIDORMI: I would be, yes…
GARROSH: Okay, so—
SORIDORMI: Except that it has already been returned to its own time, and retrieving it a second time would involve the type of crossing of timelines that we need the power source for in the first place.
GARROSH: Okay, seriously, you’ve got to start leading with the “but” part of these answers.
MOKVAR: What about the spell book that Malchezaar used to bring the demons into Orgrimmar?
SORIDORMI: <shakes her head> The Book of Medivh is a powerful source of portal magic, for portals within this reality, but hardly helpful for the kind of temporal manipulation we’re undertaking.
GARROSH: <staring down, hesitant> What about…the Focusing Iris? From the Eye of Eternity?
SORIDORMI: <nods slowly> The Focusing Iris would work, yes. As a dragon relic, in fact, it should lend itself all the more easily to my use.
MOKVAR: Do we know where it is now?
GARROSH: The Blue Dragonflight is keeping it in Coldarra.
SORIDORMI: I will give you my talisman to show to the blues. They will give you the Iris if they know you’ve been sent by me. They’ll know I would not ask were the need not dire.
GARROSH: Okay then. I think we have a plan.
SORIDORMI: Indeed, Warchief.
MOKVAR: We should probably get go—
SORIDORMI: Wait, Garrosh – Malchezaar saw you, and called you “Warchief”?
GARROSH: Yeah, why?
SORIDORMI: <fidgets with her hands nervously> You need to go. Now. Take my talisman and get to Northrend quickly to recover the Focusing Iris.
MOKVAR: Why? What is it?
GARROSH: I’ve really kind of had my fill of flying blind around here. What’s got you spooked all of a sudden?
SORIDORMI: The Netherspace where Malchezaar dwelled was a distorted region of time.
GARROSH: Right, I know. Time loop, round and round, now he’s dead, now he’s not, boom. So what?
SORIDORMI: The Netherspace rests at the intersection of countless times. Those who dwell there can see into the different realities – bits and pieces, usually, but one never knows. If Malchezaar knows to call you “Warchief,” he has seen your other world. And in that case, he may well know enough – or could deduce – how the worlds fit together and how they might be corrected.
MOKVAR: It would really be nice if there could be some stupid people on the bad guys’ side for a change…
SORIDORMI: The Burning Legion stands on the brink of a victory on Azeroth that it has coveted for millennia. If they realize what we’re doing, they will not stand idly by. We need to act quickly.
GARROSH: Got it. Be doing whatever you need to do to get ready, Soridormi. We’ll be back with Edwin and the Focusing Iris.
SORIDORMI: I hope so, Garrosh. Titans watch over you.
We winged it double-time to Thunder Bluff. I’m writing from there now. Dranosh and the others haven’t arrived yet, but I’ve sent a messenger to Theramore with the barest bare-bones of what we need to do. I’m guessing he’ll be headed here by nightfall, morning at the latest, and then we can get moving.
Next stop, Northrend.
[Sylvanas and Kil'jaeden images above provided by Rioriel from Postcards From Azeroth, reproduced here with permission and many thanks. Click on the links in the previous sentence to see the souped-up Postcards versions!]