When the rains rolled into the valley, most things quieted down. The Loremaster understood that just thinking that was absurd. Everything was already so slow moving in this place that slowing down seemed… impossible.
And yet… it still happened.
By now, the Loremaster knew the inner-workings of the city. If the rain wasn’t heavy, several of the farmers would head to the ponds to try their hands at fishing. Sionis had a favorite spot picked out, one he claimed he’d stolen from Nat Pagle, so the Loremaster knew exactly where to find him.
Of course, he didn’t seem too excited when the Loremaster walked up.
The mage was tucked under a large umbrella, with a reclining chair and a long fishing pole that sat near the water’s edge. He wore a straw hat with an over-sized rim, and he was currently sipping on some kind of warm beverage.
“Nice day out?” the Loremaster asked, approaching him carefully.
“What brings you all the way out here?” Sionis asked, glancing up at him.
“Oh, I dunno. It’s a rainy day… nothing to do… except talk?”
Sionis sighed, but then nodded and gestured to a place under his umbrella. The Loremaster excitedly rushed under the protection and planted himself on the ground, still dry underneath Sionis’ cover.
“I haven’t been avoiding you,” Sionis started, checking the tension on his fishing line. “This part of the story is a bit… unique… so I’ve been trying to get it all sorted in my head. After all, that last time we spoke, you learned that I should have burned alive in an underwater cave, but then I was snatched out of time by a bronze dragon and told that I would be better use to the timeline if I was alive.”
“I remember all that,” the Loremaster confirmed. “It was after the cataclysm. You left me off right after that, with the warning that something terrible was coming in two years and you needed to prepare. So… let’s start there.”
Sionis nodded, then looked out at the water as the raindrops disturbed the surface. He took a long time to consider where he’d start, then he squinted his face and looked back at the Loremaster.
“A lot can happen in four years. The dragon had warned me that Garrosh Hellscream was going to disrupt the timeline, but he left out some critical details about how or when that was going to go down. I busied myself by attempting to strengthen the Alliance forces as much as I could. I sought out heroes young and old to help fight… waiting for whatever disaster would strike.”
“That must have been difficult,” the Loremaster said. “After the Cataclysm… the mists of Pandaria were revealed, Garrosh destroyed Theramore, and then the Siege of Orgrimmar…”
“It was hard to know when the time was coming. Garrosh lead the horde down a destructive path, as they had done before… as they would do again… all the while I was biding my time and arming any citizen I could find. The dragon’s warning turned out to be as vague as possible. Each and every day, as news of Garrosh’s atrocities continued to pour in, I kept thinking this would be the moment. Then, he got arrested.”
“So, did you think you had avoided the event?”
“I didn’t know,” Sionis admitted. “Part of me hoped that was the case. I heard he was going to trial, and I knew he would be put to death after that. The monster had committed so many war crimes, any other verdict would be insane. So, I waited a bit longer, and then I heard the news that Garrosh had escaped.”
“What did you do?” the Loremaster asked.
“I didn’t have to do anything. Not long after the ex-warchief escaped, the dark portal in the blasted lands was torn open with a new and strange magic. Nethergarde Keep fell within the day. The survivors sent warning to Stormwind, and we all learned about the Iron Horde. Garrosh’s plan finally came to light. The fool had traveled into the past, made an alternate reality on his home world of Draenor, and using the monsters that had attacked our world decades ago, he crafted an army to attack us once again. He came as an enemy of the Horde and the Alliance… he came to conquer us all.”
“So it was time to act, right?”
“That’s right,” Sionis answered. “I sent word to all of my contacts. I rallied all of my allies… and we flew to the blasted lands to confront this foe. The Alliance had already launched a naval campaign on the eastern shores, and they punched a hole through Garrosh’s invasion force long enough for a splinter group to punch through. By the time we arrived to reinforce the front, Khadgar, Thrall, and Maraad were pushing us ever closer to the Dark Portal. By then, Khadgar had informed us that simply fighting the Iron Horde in our time would not defeat our foes. They could simply regroup and reopen the portal once more. The only way to end this conflict would be to destroy the dark portal from the other side.”
Sionis paushed for a moment. “I don’t recall how many troops made it through, just a few dozen at most.”
“How did it feel, to be stranded out there like that?”
Sionis smiled. “I felt like my time had come. On the far side of the portal, the burned and desolate Outland was still a lush and vibrant jungle. I had traveled to the remnants of Draenor before, but to see it like this… alive and thriving… it would have been beautiful if not for the army of orcs that were trying to slaughter us. Khadgar, having led the charge through the portal, put us to work right away. He showed the experience of his own past as he highlighted the weak points in the portal and ordered us as a unit, as quickly as we could, moving across an enemy encampment in an effort to stem the tide through the gateway.”
“Did you do it? I mean, did you close the portal?”
“Yes, thanks to his ingenuity, we brought down the dark portal. The few of us that survived stole a few Iron Horde ships and sailed into the ocean of Draenor. Our forces split in two, with the Horde taking a ship north, while we pushed south. The hope was that we could both find allies, strengthen ourselves, and destroy the Iron Horde before it could rebuild the dark portal and continue assaulting our home. Maraad, a draenai of the highest order, told us that he remembered this time in his life. He guided us to the shores of Shadowmoon Valley, and once we were anchored there, we met our first ally. The draenai prophet, Velen, welcomed our support against the Iron Horde. He gave us a place in the safety of draenai-controlled land, and we were able to begin building a garrison. The draenai mages even helped us craft a portal that would breach time and space, as the dark portal had done, so that we could contact Stormwind in the present for reinforcements.”
“Amazing,” the Loremaster said. “I honestly haven’t studied much about the Iron Horde or the time traveling… situation… that you guys went through.”
Sionis chuckled. “It all happened so fast. That’s what I remember the most. I spent four years waiting for this moment to arrive. The dragon had warned me, told me about broken timelines and fractures in continuity, but when it happened… I was still so overwhelmed.”
“I imagine so.”
“Which, of course, made the next event so bizarre.”
“The next event?”
Sionis nodded. “Yeah, the day I met Iliera Starfall.”
The Loremaster nearly squealed with excitement. “I’ve been waiting a long time for this part of the story,” he said, scooting closer and grabbing a fresh scroll of paper. “Let’s hear all about it.”