As you may or may not know, I sent Riktal through my dimensional rift recently, and she returned with information on some kind of version of Draenor on the other side. The information she relayed to me did not, however, make much sense considering what I knew about the planet from my own youth. She appeared in a place called “Frostfire Ridge”, which as far as I’m aware, never existed on Draenor, but appeared to have some elements of Blade’s Edge Mountains, pulled out and stretched, with random lands put in-between to fill out the gaps. What I learned looked like someone wanted to just redesign Draenor according to his own whims, established past be damned. If that is all indeed Kairozdormu’s meddling, it’s going far beyond what I would ever expect possible of him.
I had to investigate myself, but then the rift stopped working for some time. Nothing seemed to materialize on the other end which was constantly changing locations, hardly any of which were recognizable to me. I figured after our exchange and semi-hostility, Kairozdormu found a way to block my entrance into his Draenor, so I kept working on a solution. I must admit, the dragon is quite powerful. It took me more than I expected to unravel the interference he put into the rift and by the time I was done, the exit aperture was in Tanaan Jungle, a place which is what in that reality becomes Hellfire Peninsula. Originally, I thought the timelines diverged only with Kairoz’s arrival but now I’m starting to think it was always a different universe. May be also why it’s not dissolving, like most alternate timelines.
Anyway, I had to investigate and go through. In a way, I was finally back home. I was on Draenor, the planet I grew on, before it was warped into Outland, the hellish mockery of what I called home. But this thing, the one I returned to at that moment… it was still not home. It was almost like it, but off by just enough to make me uneasy. This… Tanaan Jungle was a lush, hot forest that I never knew in this place, and it was inhabited mainly by the Primals. For those of you who do not know Primals, they are a faction of plant-like races that usually stand against most mortal races. The arakkoa lived in peace with them, mostly, because our veils didn’t damage the forests but lived in symbiosis with them, but orcs… those guys hated the Primals. And that’s something that isn’t different in that universe.
Not long after leaving the rift exit somewhere between the trees, I encountered a battle. A Primal settlement was being attacked by orcs of the Iron Horde. The peons were trying to cut down the trees, got attacked by botani and fara, and in turn an orcish army descended upon them and began the onslaught. The Primals are usually quite tenacious folks but with the technology the orcs got from our fugitive, they had little chance. At one point, I saw three botani trying to run away, getting assaulted by four grunts with enchanted axes. When one of the grunts saw me he decided to go full stupid and shouted “Look, an arakkoa, he must be helping them! Seize him!” I had no choice but to defend myself. Although the other two botani perished in the ensuing battle, one of them, Aeresham or something, survived and thanked me for my assistance. Seriously, I wasn’t trying to help them!
Alas, saying that out loud wouldn’t be very helpful in my then-current situation so I had to play along. Aeresham took me to his community on the south-east of Tanaan, where I was introduced to the genesaur that led them, with an even more unpronouncable name I won’t even try to reproduce. The genesaur didn’t like me, but decided to let me stay after I helped his people. Until next morning, I was surrounded with botani, fara, podlings, mandragoras and even a couple of what Azerothians call “ancients”. Normally, getting to see their lives from up-close would be a great boon, but I was just trying to scout around and see what’s up with this Draenor, really. And that’s when stuff went wrong.
Suddenly, Blackhand decided I’m a public threat. Because of that information network, he realized I’m from the place his prophet is from and my knowledge can endanger his Iron Horde’s future, so… he sent his soldiers after me and the Primals who took me in. I woke up to the sounds of battle and saw outside freshly built orcish tanks and cannons blowing up the forest, magicians setting it on fire and grunts killing the Primals. I had no other option but to escape. Unfortunately, Aeresham decided he owes me his life and has to help me until the debt is repaid so he tagged along. When we reached the nearby coast, he grew a boat for us from chopped wood and we set sail south – towards Shadowmoon Valley, and away from my only way back to Azeroth, now laying past scores of orcish soldiers.
TO BE CONTINUED
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