Episode 19: The Spell of Time

The Violet Citadel in the magical city of Dalaran.

      My role in the Battle for the Undercity will be long forgotten to time. I was just another battle mage from Stormwind, my name, rank, or position all lost in the chaos that was a sudden and powerful assault against what equated to a Horde capital city.

      I wish my story ended with the happy reclamation of Lordaeron, but that wasn’t the case. My little trip with Jaina to visit Thrall had alerted the Horde of the King’s plan. They had gathered their strength and come to assault the Undercity as well, with both of our armies now pushing against the forsaken betrayers.

      When the one named Putress fell, I thought the fighting was over, but the aggression between the Horde and the Alliance, as is often the case, boiled over into a new fight, one that would decide who kept this awful mess of a city.

      It would have been a bloodbath, one that would have set both the Alliance and the Horde back significantly in their efforts to defeat the Lich King, but Jaina Proudmoore stepped in, teleporting the entire Alliance attack force out of the city and back to Stormwind.

      She is a force, Jaina Proudmoore.

      Varian wasn’t happy about her decision, but he was pleased with my loyalty.

      When the dust finally started to settle, he offered me a favor, and my planning, while completely chaotic, ended with my original goal.

      I requested a full pardon from the Kirin Tor banishment and access to the city of Dalaran, as well as the Grand Library.

      He granted my request without a second thought.


      I returned to Dalaran a few days later.

      I brought Surfal with me. I marched into the Grand Library, showed off my royal scroll from the King of Stormwind, and headed inside to begin browsing the books for what I needed.

      I had made it.

      My plan could finally come to fruition.

      I wasted no time in seeking out the book, a thick tome titled “The Trouble With Time: An Expanded Collection of Time Warping and Manipulation”.

      Deep in its forbidden pages was the spell of time long past. I knew the cost to use the spell. It would take all of my energy, perhaps my very ability to use magic, and I would have to use the shard of Keaira’s soul to fuel the incantation. In exchange, I could send myself back in time to the day Keaira died. I would be able to save her, to stop her from dying.

      The spell sat on a blank page, concealed by an ancient protection ward. I stripped it away with ease, and then looked at the spell before me, sitting on an old yellowed page, so simple and innocent and easy to perform.

      The words were simple.

      I set it down for a moment, then whipped up a teleportation portal and brought Surfal through it so that he was with me in the library. Then, I went to work.

      I read the first few lines, and glowing energy began to spiral around me. I felt energy crackling in every direction, pulling from Surfal and the soul he still held. Suprisingly, I also heard the creature give me a surprised whiny, as though it felt the process.

      I continued, speaking the words and inserting my own needs, aiming the time spell so that it would land me to over a year ago where I could prevent the tragic events that would unfold. I thought of the other things I could change too, and I felt proud of my decision.

      Then, the spell began to grow more powerful. The room began to tremble, and I felt more energy pulling Surfal. The horse whinnied again, this time louder, and I realized that I might actually be hurting him.

      I would have to be quick. I continued the spell, but then I was interrupted by someone shouting my name. I looked up, as the wind picked up in the library and books began to fall off the shelves, I saw Christine standing in the doorway.

      “Sionis! You have to stop!”

      I didn’t understand. “What? Why?”

      “You don’t know what you’re doing,” she said. “Please. We know what you want.”

      “We?” I asked.

      “Me,” Evanor said, stepping out from behind the paladin. “Sionis, that spell isn’t going to get you what you want, and worse, it’s going to damage time itself!”

      “How can you possibly know that?” I asked.

      “Because I figured out your plan,” she replied. “Sionis, I know you want to save her, but this isn’t going to work. You’re going to make things worse, not better.”

      “You don’t know that. You can’t know that!”

      “If you change the past, you will create a new timeline. Every change you make will cause further deviation. The timelines could collapse together, or one of them might be destroyed. You’ll be responsible for so much… destruction.”

      The spell was gaining power, and Surfal was struggling. I hadn’t anticipated harming him in the process, but I was so close, I couldn’t back down now. I would change the past, and the future would be altered, sure, but I saw all the good I could do.

      “I can warn them about the forsaken at the Wrathgate,” I added.

      “Sionis,” Christine shouted. “You’ll lose yourself in this!”

      “What?”

      “Look at Surfal. He’s dying. You’re already losing more than you will gain. If you change the timeline, you wont’ come to Northrend. You won’t be there to meet me in the Grizzly Hills. Who will stop Arugal? It’ll all be different. It’ll all be wrong.”

      “I can save her,” I said, pleading with them to understand.

      “Do you remember, back in the Grizzly Hills, when I told you my fiance left to fight the scourge and never returned?”

      “Yeah,” I said.

      “He did come back,” she shouted, trying to talk over the storm the spell was producing. “He came back to our home, as an undead. He tried to murder me. He told me that he knew I couldn’t love him now, and that if I was undead like him, well then we could be together. He thought he was saving me, Sionis, but he wouldn’t have saved us. He would have made it worse… he was wrong.”

      I was shocked by the revelation. “I’m so sorry.”

      “I was too,” she said. “The thing is, I’m not anymore. I still think about him, the man he was before he was lost. I loved that man, but I had to let him go. My time with him made me who I am now, and your time with Keaira, and the loss you suffered, it’s who makes you who you are now. You know the pain of loss, and you want to stop others from feeling it too. That’s a good thing. That’s not something to undo!”

      “We can save him too,” I said. “We can go back—”

      “No,” she said. “We can’t. Then, I might not go to Northrend. I might not rally others to Amberpine, and Arugal might overrun the hills with his Worgen. Don’t you understand, Sionis? This is who we are. The things that have happened, well, they’ve happened. We can’t change them, we shouldn’t change them.”

      I felt a tear run down my face.

      “I’m the reason she died,” I mumbled, trying to choke back the emotions.

      “If you do this, you’ll be the cause of so much pain,” she said firmly. “You can’t change the past, Sionis, and even if you do, you can’t forget it. You’ll be a prisoner to loss, no matter what. Using this spell will only change the scenery.”

      I knew she was right, my heart ached with the truth.

      I looked at Surfal and saw the horse struggling to stand. I wondered about Evanor, trapped in the cage in the Borean Tundra. Would anyone have saved her if I hadn’t come to the rescue?

      How many lives would be altered, lost, if I did this?

      I looked down at the spell, and despite the pain within, I slammed the tome shut.

      The whirlwind of magic slowed, then stopped, and Surfal grunted with a sigh of exhaustion. I held the book in my hands for a long time, then set it down on a nearby table and looked at the two who had come to stop me.

      Christine rushed forward, once more hugging me tightly.

      “You’re going to be okay, Sionis,” she said to me.

      She held me a long time.

      When she finally let go, I was quick to perform a few spells that cleaned the room up so that no one had to know what I had done. I even placed a new protection ward over the spell to prevent anyone else from happening across it by mistake.

      “Before we go,” there’s one more thing I need to do,” I said. “Surfal is still bound to a piece of Keaira’s soul. When I got Surfal back, I was told that Keaira’s soul tried to pass to the Shadowlands. I need to release it.”

      “I can do that,” Christine said.

      “I would be thankful,” I said.

      The paladin reached out and placed a hand on Surfal’s form. The horse shifted, slightly nervous, and then I saw a glow of Light pass through the horse’s celestial body. There was a flash of energy, and then I saw the purple glow slowly fade away, leaving only a brilliant blue glow in the horse’s eyes.

      With that, I knew it was over.

      Keaira was gone. It was time for me to let go.


      Outside of the library, the Kirin Tor mages scratched their heads as we passed by with Surfal in tow. Christine joked that she had found him wandering around, and she laughed at the looks on the guards’ faces.

      In the open streets of Dalaran, I looked at my two friends and then up to the sky above. I knew that the Lich King would need to be dealt with, but my heart felt lighter, less vengeful, and more free. I wasn’t called to end Arthas’ reign over the undead.

      “I want to help people,” I said aloud.

      “I hoped you’d say that,” Christine replied.

      And, just like that, it was over.

      My year long quest into Northrend had ended.

      It started as a hunt for a spell, and ended with the discovery of self. I moved on that day, from hiding my pain and trying to fix the past, to coming to terms with it and learning to live with the pain. I could begin to mold myself into a better person.

      Oh, and I got a flying horse out of it. That was cool too.


TO BE CONTINUED…

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