“Wait a second!” the Loremaster shouted. “You just hold up right there.”
Sionis Sepher did as he was told, pausing his story and sitting there, waiting.
Sionis waved his hand a little bit. “Well, no, I suppose not.”
“So, what did happen?”
Sionis offered him a sly grin. “This is where the story gets… interesting.”
The Loremaster, realizing there was more to hear, grabbed his quill once more…
That night in the cave, that was the night I was meant to die. I should have been incinerated by the magical energies that I released. It was awe-inspiring, and I have heard that most of the survivors escaped thanks to our efforts down there.
Instead of burning up in fire as I had expected, however, I simply… vanished.
I found myself in a bright white existence. My body was weightless, and I thought for a moment that maybe I had reached the shadowlands. My body ached from all the fighting, my skin burned from the release of pure energy, and I wondered why these physical ailments had followed me into the spiritual realm.
Then, a voice echoed in my head.
“You are not dead, Sionis Sepher.”
“Oh really?” I asked aloud.
The light surrounding me began to dim until I saw spirals of color and distant dots of light on the horizon. I saw sandy ground and cave walls that had buildings jutting out of them. I had heard stories about this place, but I had never seen it myself. I was in the Caverns of Time, a place controlled by the Bronze Dragons.
“Welcome to our domain,” the voice boomed.
Forming from the light, a bronze dragon appeared. The creature’s massive golden eyes were locked on me, and I stared right back, with fear and amazement. I had no idea how I had arrived here, or why, but I had quickly come to terms with the reality that this was happening.
“Why am I here?” I asked. “I was in a cave—”
“You died,” the dragon replied. “Or, you would have died, if I had not intervened.”
“You saved me? How?”
“I pulled your being through time itself, from one location to another.”
“Like a teleportation spell?” I asked.
“A poor comparison, but similar in nature.”
“I am grateful for the rescue,” I said, feeling a little overwhelmed. “I guess I don’t understand… why?”
The dragon lowered his head, closed his eyes, and then magically transformed from the massive creature to a tall and slender blood elf. He walked across the sands of the cavern floor and placed a hand on my shoulder, as though consoling me.
By now, I recognized him. This was Nozdormu, the leader of the bronze dragons. He was one of the oldest creatures alive on the plant, so much so that many referred to him as a Timeless One. He was terribly powerful, and able to bend time and space to his will. To be standing in his presence was an honor, and that only made this more confusing.
“In a timeline not that different from the one where we are now, you sacrificed your life to save the others. Your death was honorable, but against the coming darkness, I have calculated your survival to be monumental to our success.”
“I”m not following,” I admitted.
“An orc named Garrosh Hellscream will alter time for his own nefarious goals. He successfully creates a splinter in time itself, and an alternate timeline is born. He manipulates his reality and, quite foolishly, forces the two realities into conflict. Your timeline is overwhelmed and Garrosh destroys… everything.”
“You saw all of this happen?”
“Indeed,” Nozdormu replied. “It is a future I work now to prevent.”
“How do I come into this?”
Nozdormu chuckled. “You live. My calculations show that your survival leads to the survival of others, who then help others, and the strength of our timeline grows tenfold in the years to come.”
“Why don’t you just stop Garrosh from traveling into the past?” I asked.
“I cannot stop Garrosh. His actions have already splintered time, and those splinters run through the future and the past. To go back and stop him now would only create more instability in the timelines. I can only make small changes, like saving a single hero from their untimely death. My alteration to the timeline was small, but your impact will be large over time.”
“I’m willing to help, but I don’t know where to start.”
“Your existence is the beginning,” Nozdormu replied. “I will return you to the time in which I removed you, give or take a few weeks. From that moment forward, you will have two years before Garrosh’s Iron Horde will cross time and space to fight your reality.”
“So I just… recruit people?”
“Prepare for the day,” Nozdormu replied. “While you seek allies, I will scour the timelines and find others that I can save, others that I can send to aid you. It will be up to you, and heroes like you, to ready this realm for a war it’s never seen before.”
I felt skeptical, but I nodded. “Okay. I can do that. Gather folks up. Prepare for a fight.”
Nozdormu nodded. “I will reach out to you in time, Sionis Sepher.”
I was about to ask what happened next, but the world suddenly shifted. The sands beneath my feet changed into hard dirt. A thick coat appeared on my boy, replacing my singed robes. Then, with a snap and fizzle, the Caverns of Time vanished, leaving me standing in what appeared to a snow-covered forest of pine trees.
“Don’t move!” a voice shouted loudly. I froze in place.
I did as ordered, slowly turning to see a heavily armored paladin with a massive broadsword out and ready to strike. I remained silent, as I wasn’t sure how to go about explaining my situation, but it was the paladin that seemed caught off guard.
“Sionis? How in the Light?”
I looked at the paladin more carefully, but when they pulled off their helmet I nearly laughed in response to the joy I felt. It was Christine, the young paladin that had traveled with me through my time in Northrend!
“Christine!” I shouted. “Is that really you?”
She smiled. “You know it. What in the world are you doing here?”
“Where exactly is… here?”
“Northrend,” she replied.
I was surprised, but not unhappy. I wondered if Nozdormu had sent me to Christine for a reason, and then logically concluded that was an obvious point. I was happy to see her, and I was happy to be out of the deep ocean. I knew I had a path to walk, and I was ready.
Two years to save the world.
What could go wrong?
The Loremaster’s jaw felt like it had fallen off. He had written everything down, as always, but the story had made such a wild turn that he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Time travel, the bronze dragons, an evil plot from Garrosh Hellscream?!
“This is a lot,” he said at last, reviewing his notes.
“Indeed it was,” Sionis said in agreement. “That day will always be in my mind.”
“It worked though, I assume?”
“I mean, we’re here, right? So, you gathered your people together, used the two years, then took down Garrosh like Nozdormu wanted?”
Sionis smiled. “A story for another day.”
“It has been a long day, and I would like a snack. Perhaps a stripped melon?”
The Loremaster knew when he was at the end of the story for now. He grumbled a bit, but quickly put his writing utensils away and rolled up his scrolls. He earmarked the last one from today, eager to review it when he got back to the inn, and then leaned back in his chair and smiled.
“Desert sounds great.”