The descent into Azjol-Nerub went fairly smoothly. I fully expected some troubles to crop up – some leftover undead Nerubians, maybe evil living Nerubians worshiping Yogg-Saron, maybe something else of the multiple evils that lie in the unexplored parts of that forgotten kingdom. But no, everything went swimmingly. The most trouble we met so far was a couple of bats and spiders, nothing the group of 10 people couldn’t handle. This Xarthat guy kept leading us deeper and deeper, and it was only getting darker and damper. Really, I’m a bird, I was made for open skies and trees not for cramped, nearly airless corridors. It was a slow and painful torture.
Finally, we encountered a settlement. Deep within Azjol-Nerub we found a group of living Nerubians who were trying to rebuild their kingdom. We were slightly concerned whether they would be Old God worshipers, but they didn’t cause any trouble. Still the weirdest part of that place was the pandaren down there with them. Yeah, a living pandaren deep within Azjol-Nerub. I asked him once what is he doing there, and he explained he’s an entomologist. The guy said he was fascinated with Mantids since childhood and became a scholar when he grew up. He investigated all kinds of Aqir descendants, including two little qiraji and a silithid colossus that were following him. In Azjol-Nerub he was investigating unique Nerubian anatomy and he just wouldn’t shut up. I asked him one simple question and he kept going on probably all morning. Only when we departed, I managed to shake him off.
Continuing into the Old Kingdom, we descended further into the depths until finally, we found an ancient Nerubian ziggurat with an entrance sealed with holy runes. According to everything we have been told, this was the place. Xarthat began to use his chants and spells to unlock the tomb. It took a couple of minutes upon which we finally entered. There it was – the Frostmourne, the armor of the Lich King – everything lied down in a sealed, remote location to prevent the rise of another Lich King. Only then everybody started to panic because no one had a plan for how to safely remove the squawking blade. After some elaboration, we got the ogre shaman to summon an earth elemental which pulled the Frostmourne out and lied it down safely in a box we prepared. Couple of minutes later, the whole equipment was secured in the box and us three – me, Tarakan and the kenku Timewalker – quickly left using the timeline-jumper Kairozdormu gave us. Hopefully, the other members of the group didn’t mind us leaving like that.
We showed up back in the same time-way we last met Kairozdormu in. He was already waiting for us and immediately opened the box. That’s when he proved us he’s a douche in every timeline. He decided that the weight of such a burden must be his and attempted to remove the blade from the box himself, until Chromie appeared and interrupted him. Then Kairoz went all Anti-Monitor and transformed into an Infinite Dragon form and started to blab on about Garrosh and Murozond. I’m not sure if that means that was the same Kairoz as ours after all, or if their Kairoz went crazy after our infiltrated his timeline. Chromie defeated him and chased him off, assuring us that our mission is still relevant.
After another jump, we were back in Azeroth-2, the Azeroth without the Horde, the one where I helped in unmasking Kel’thuzad’s true loyalties some time back. And we obviously appeared right in the path of an advancing horde of zombies. Kairoz was honest about the Scourge spreading, unfortunately. We quickly ran towards Hearthglen looming nearby. Although the humans were a bit distrustful of us, having never seen an arakkoa or a kenku before, but Chromie convinced them to let us to Tirion Fordring.
Finally, we arrived in Mardenholde Keep, where Tirion and Taelan Fordrings were commanding the desperate defense of Hearthglen. We were told the Scourge has spread around the frontlines between Lordaeron and Stratholme and separated the fighting parties, attacking them both. Fordrings’ forces were cornered in their home town of Hearthglen, with everything between them and Lordaeron being occupied by a horde of mindless, uncontrolled undead. Then Chromie told us to open the box and revealed the plan to Tirion Fordring. After some shock that he would be to become the leader of the hated undead, Fordring of course took the bait.
“The weight of such a burden,” he said, another one on the list, “it must be mine, for there is no other to bear it.” So that’s how that line was supposed to end, I thought at first. And then Taelan interceded him, going all “father, you can’t do it” and so on. After a short but eerily familiar conversation, Tirion convinced everyone he must take the mantle of the Lich King to save his Azeroth, and Taelan will become the new lord of Mardenholde. Then he just put on the helmet, his voice went all spooky and he started going on about “hearing them all” and “sensing them”. He grabbed the sword and slowly marched to the battlements where everyone was already freaking out that the zombies are pulling back. He then formally announced to his soldiers that “world of the living can no longer comfort him” (seriously, where are they getting these lines?) and he would depart with the Scourge for Northrend. A quick touching goodbye to his son and they were gone.
Chromie let us spend the night in Hearthglen of Azeroth-2, leaving us with the timeline-jumper. I managed to fall asleep, despite the sounds of celebration all through the night (I’m a druid, don’t ask how I know). In the morning, we were finally properly rested and departed with the timeline-jumper back to my tower, in our timeline. Surprisingly, the kenku Timewalker followed through with us. I am not sure what he wants from us, because he didn’t say anything, but we also kept the timeline-jumper so I guess everything went pretty well.
My people still left quite a mess when we were gone, though.