Magical mystery tour
Now that things have quieted down around here – granted, not quite as successfully as I might have liked – I’m finally getting around to a bit of business I’ve had in the back of my mind ever since that whole mess with the overlapping timelines. See, if you remember, one of the reasons the Burning Legion was able to take out Orgrimmar so easily was that they had Prince Malchezaar tucked away in Karazhan, in that time-loopy Netherspace, so they could crack him out whenever they needed him and have him use one of Medivh’s old spellbooks to port them right in on top of us. Which, if you remember, wasn’t exactly a fun time for the good guys.
Now granted, that timeline never happened for us now, but one thing that’s come out of it is that NOW, I know what Malchezaar is actually doing up there in Karazhan – basically sitting there in storage, on a permanent death-then-respawn loop, until the Legion turns up and needs him. Which, by the way, I’ve got to say, as much as I hate the demons, that’s a job that has to take some stones to sign up for. Assuming Malchezaar had any choice in the matter. But can you imagine that? Committing yourself to dying over and over, just to come back and die some more? Can you imagine how much someone would have to believe in the cause to go along with something like that, and stick to it even after X number of go-rounds?
Anyway, point is, now I know what Malchezaar is doing there, and just importantly, I’ve seen first-hand the threat he could pose to the Horde. So I think it’s high time we made it our business to neutralize that threat. The one trick, though, is that we can’t just go up to the Netherspace where Malchezaar is hiding and kill him there – then he would just pop back up again as soon as the time loop resets. Nothing accomplished there. So we’ve got to find a way to get him down from there first.
And before you go suggesting one of us should go up there, shoot him, then take off down the stairs so he’ll chase us till he’s out of the Netherspace…come on. Malchezaar’s a poncy fucker, sure, but he’s not a damn idiot. He knows that as long as he’s up there he’s safe, and as soon as he leaves he’s vulnerable. So I’ve got to figure he’d be smart enough to leash back to his home base as soon as he sees what we’re doing. So we’ll have to come up with another way to yank him down from there.
But, bottom line – we’re going to Karazhan.
Since part of the mission is going to be finding or improvising a way to get Malchezaar down from the Netherspace, and it’s hard to say just what we’ll be up against in the process, I’m bringing a decent team with me. And since the mission is largely based on what we learned in that other timeline, I’m first and foremost bringing the people who’ll remember that timeline with me: Mokvar, Liadrin, Faranell, and Utvoch.
Side note, speaking of which: I’ve talked to Mokvar and Liadrin since the whole time fiasco, and from what I gather, those of us who had gone on the original Southshore mission – the ones who were still aware of our original timeline when we started shifting into the other one – can still remember everything that happened with the two realities. Mokvar remembers shifting back and forth with me. Liadrin remembers becoming leader of the Argent Crusade and bearer of the Ashbringer. Etc., etc. Other than us, no one seems to remember anything strange happening – it’s as if the second timeline never existed for them. Which, in a way, it didn’t, now.
I’m not exactly sure what Edwin’s perception of everything would be at this point, what with him being in kind of a unique position. I’ll have to remember to ask him about that before we finish up with this.
Anyway, that’s the bulk of the group. Since Utvoch is coming, I’m also letting him bring Dontrag along, because (a) Dontrag whined enough about not getting to come along last time, (b) the two of them are hard enough to separate under the best of circumstances, and (c) bringing one of them but not the other would require someone to figure out which of them is which, and let’s face it, that’s a crap shoot most of the time any way you cut it.
I’m also having Garona come with us, since she spent a fair amount of time in Karazhan back in the day, not to mention she had kind of an in with Medivh. Or should I said, Medivh had…you know what? Never mind. She might read this, and I don’t need the headaches.
Meanwhile, while we’re off doing our thing in Karazhan, I’m leaving Malkorok to oversee the ongoing preparations for battle with the Alliance. That and pay a little visit to Neeru Fireblade in the Cleft of Shadow. Related loose ends.
So, I contacted everyone, and we all met up this morning in Stonard, then flew over to Karazhan. When we first arrived, we found a roost for gryphons outside the upper tower, and we were going to leave our mounts there until we realized, hey, there’s actually no way to get DOWN from there once the mounts are settled, and also, who the hell sets up of flight point like that, seriously?
FARANELL: Well, Medivh was probably thinking, if you can’t get down easily enough with Slow Fall, that’s your own fault for not having the good sense to be a mage.
Oh, shut up, Doc. Of course Mokvar never misses a word of the smartassing when it happens.
Anyway, Garona remembered that there were stables just inside the gate, so we brought our mounts in with us to stash there. While everyone was getting their wyverns and bats and (ugh) dragonhawks secured, Mortimer went sniffing around the stables – he doesn’t take too well to being strapped down anyplace, but he’s good enough about staying where he’s supposed to be that I usually let him wander. While he was poking around, he found this ghostly horse in the back area – all spooky-looking with glowing eyes and flaming hooves. The two of them took a couple minutes to check each other out, and then each of them seemed to decide that the other was okay. When I came around to check on them, the horse apparently took a liking to me and started following me around until we strapped it into one of the pens. So, yeah, another mount to add to the collection. Whoopee.
Once we were done in the stables, we came back out to the foyer, where we found Berthold, Medivh’s old doorman, standing by the main stairway. Or, well, the GHOST of Berthold. Man, I don’t know what kind of contract some of these servants had with Medivh, but it must have been a doozy – they don’t even get to check out when they fucking DIE. These people really should have joined a union or something.
Anyway, Berthold managed to get us going in a possible right direction…
BERTHOLD: Ah, excellent! Greetings, all! The master hasn’t had guests in so terribly long!
FARANELL: Do you think that maybe that could be because he’s dead?
GARROSH: Heh. You’ve got a point, Doc.
MOKVAR: To be fair, so is this guy.
BERTHOLD: Goodness…could it be…Garona?
GARONA: Hey, Berthold. Long time no see.
GARROSH: Oh, that’s right, you would have known this guy from way back when…
BERTHOLD: I remember your son coming here not so long ago, Garona… But surely, he couldn’t really be your son! You couldn’t be old enough to be the mother of a boy his age.
GARONA: I see you’re a flatterer as always, Berthold.
BERTHOLD: I only speak the truth, my lady. Time has stood still for you.
GARONA: What’s that supposed to mean?
GARROSH: Never mind. Forget it.
GARONA: Just because I have a grown son doesn’t mean I’m ancient, you know!
MOKVAR: Oh boy, here we go again.
GARONA: It’s always the same with you, isn’t it? If a woman isn’t jailbait…
GARROSH: Remind me again how old you were when you paired off with old graybeard Medivh?
GARONA: …What does that have to do with anything?
GARROSH: Well hey, if I’m going to take crap about liking ’em young, I’m just wondering how far into the shallow end of the pool Mr. Last Guardian was dipping.
GARONA: Fine – I happened to have a thing for older men at the time, okay? Are you happy now?
GARROSH: Uh huh. And how much older are we talking?
GARONA: I don’t see how that’s important!
GARROSH: Hey, doorman dude.
BERTHOLD: Yes sir?
GARROSH: How long HAS it been since you’ve seen little miss charm school here?
BERTHOLD: Well, sir…
GARONA: You don’t have to answer that, Berthold.
GARROSH: GO ON.
BERTHOLD: About…twenty-five years, sir? Give or take?
GARROSH: Uh huh. And by your best count, how old was Medivh at the time?
BERTHOLD: About fifty, sir. As best as I can figure.
GARROSH: <smirking at Garona victoriously> Oh yeah. He loved you for your mind, I’m sure.
LIADRIN: Don’t listen to him, Garona. I think you look lovely.
GARONA: Oh you stay out of this, twiggy.
LIADRIN: I… <blinks> Okay, then…
FARANELL: That moment when you realize Garrosh may actually possess preternatural patience.
DONTRAG: Begging your pardon, Warchief?
FARANELL: Case in point.
GARROSH: Yes, Utvoch? I assume this is… <sighs> …important?
DONTRAG: Um, well, I’m actually Dontrag, sir.
UTVOCH: I’m Utv—
GARROSH: Both of you.
DONTRAG and UTVOCH: Yes sir?
GARROSH: How long have I known you?
MOKVAR: I’m assuming you want something more specific than “too long.”
DONTRAG: About a year now, sir?
GARROSH: And in the past year, can you tell me one thing I’ve done or said that suggested to you that I gave so much as half a shit which of you is which?
UTVOCH: No, sir.
DONTRAG: Not really, sir.
GARROSH: Okay then. So what were you going to ask, Utvoch?
DONTRAG: But I’m Dontr—OWW!!
GARROSH: Half a shit, not given. The question.
DONTRAG: <rubbing his head> Uh, well…it wasn’t anything important, sir.
GARROSH: Yeah, like I couldn’t have guessed that from the get-go. Moving on.
GARONA: You’re so mean sometimes.
GARROSH: You want to see mean, grandma?
GARONA: I don’t know why I keep trying to help—
LIADRIN: Not to interrupt…but might we try to focus on what we came here for?
GARROSH: Yeah, good point. So…
GARONA: Oh sure, listen to her.
GARROSH: MOVING ON.
FARANELL: I really should have brought popcorn.
GARROSH: Okay, so Berthold, you’ve been watching the door here for how long?
BERTHOLD: Oh goodness, sir, longer than I can remember. Ages.
GARROSH: So you were here when Malchezaar and the other demons arrived some years back.
BERTHOLD: Yes, sir. Malchezaar, Illhoof, a few others.
MOKVAR: Um, just thinking out loud here, but if you’re the doorman, wouldn’t it be your job to, say, not let those guys in?
BERTHOLD: Well, I suppose, sir…in theory…but, well…I am a ghost.
BERTHOLD: Well…I couldn’t really do much to stop them, what with my being noncorporeal and all.
GARROSH: Uh, what about like the zillion and five ghosts that I’ve had attack me in places like this?
FARANELL: Speaking from personal experience, I’ve never let being dead stop me from smacking someone down if need be.
FARANELL: I mean, that’s just about standards.
BERTHOLD: I…well…um, I don’t know what to tell you, sir…
GARROSH: Okay, first, we’ll just update your title from “doorman” to “doormat” and move on. So when you’re not doing a bang-up job on house security, what DO you do?
BERTHOLD: Well, mostly I port people to the upper levels of the tower, sir.
MOKVAR: Sounds like an exciting life.
LIADRIN: Hmm, Berthold?
BERTHOLD: Yes, ma’am?
LIADRIN: Since you have the ability to use porting magic, is there any chance you could do the reverse? Summon someone from elsewhere in the tower to here?
BERTHOLD: I’m afraid not, ma’am. I’m not sure anyone but the master possessed that kind of power over the premises here, at least not without special enhancements.
GARROSH: Enhancements, like what?
BERTHOLD: Well, for instance, sir, I believe there was a summoning circle off of one of the libraries that Illhoof used to use…
MOKVAR: Probably only good for pulling demons from the Twisted Nether…
BERTHOLD: …or there’s the Opera House, where the performers can summon…well, all manner of things, from what I hear. Glamours mostly, I suppose, but one never knows with those theater types.
GARROSH: Huh. What do you magic types think?
FARANELL: Hard to say without seeing what they have going on there.
MOKVAR: Sounds like it’s mostly smoke and mirrors, really, but I’m not sure what else to suggest.
GARONA: Medivh might have had some relics in the upper chambers that we could use, but I’m not sure, and we’d have to go past the Opera House regardless…
GARROSH: Okay, sounds like we have something to go check on, anyway.
BERTHOLD: Very good, sir. When you go, please do give my best to Barnes, the stage manager. It’s been ages since I’ve seen him.
GARROSH: Huh. Not for anything, but if you’re, like, Mr. Portal Guy, why couldn’t you port yourself up there to pay him a visit?
BERTHOLD: I…goodness…now that you mention it, sir, I don’t see why not…
GARROSH: Yeah, see?
BERTHOLD: Why…I could portal myself…anywhere in the castle… <eyes widening> Ghost concubines, here I come!
Berthold waves his hand and teleports away.
MOKVAR: He could have at least offered to send us to the Opera House first.
GARONA: You men are all alike. Even when you’re dead.
Okay, so, kind of a surprise ending there, but at least we’ve got a possible lead or two. We’re making our way to the Opera House now, so with any luck we’ll dig up something useful. If not, well, we’ve got a giant creepy haunted castle full of stuff to go rifling through. Sounds like a recipe for success to me.