Character: Timewalker Watcher Tarakan Krasha
From the first mission briefing I was warned about that timeline. Well, they warn me about every timeline but they said this one is particularly dangerous as few who venture there ever return. Not because they all die, quite contrary. They all lead long, happy lives. A bit too happy, perhaps. I was informed the Timewalkers called that particular timeway “Azeroth of the Lotus Eaters”. About a decade ago, Azerothians discovered an odd magical lotus that is apparently absent from most other timelines. Some say it was an Infinite intervention, but I did not believe it. I mean, what’s so weird about a drug appearing in one timeline? Now I believe I may have been wrong, but I’ll get there in a minute. That lotus emitted a pollen that caused an irresistible urge to consume it. Once consumed, it had a sweet and unnaturally pleasant flavour which drove people to eat more of it. After a while, everyone was addicted – humans, elves, demons, dragons. No one could resist it. The whole planet, walking in a state of half-conscious bliss, driven only to consume more of the magical lotus. But as it turned out, it was far from the worst thing that could happen to that timeline.
When I crossed through the portal, at first I thought I took a wrong turn and ended up in the wrong timeline. Instead of wide, open fields full of catatonic elves and weirdly alluring plants all I saw was a dark, floating rock and a huge, empty void. Further in the distance, more lifeless rocks floated in the black, lightless space. I thought that I perhaps ended up on one of the alarmingly numerous Azeroths destroyed by the Burning Legion, but my Vision of Time confirmed I was on Azeroth-26, Azeroth of the Lotus Eaters. At this point I wondered, what could have happened? Perhaps I was wrong, perhaps the plant was an Infinite intervention after all… and I had been just ported into a dimension where time itself is being torn apart.
I knew the timeway didn’t completely collapse because I could still port in, although I had to wait before opening a window out of it. Had the Infinite Dragonflight finished consuming this universe into entropy, the portal would have never ended up here. But I still deluded myself that perhaps my first impression was right and I was simply in the wrong timeline. Believing it could only be a matter of time before I will be able to escape, I used some of the fancy Timewalker powers to jump from rock to rock and try to look for pieces of what this Azeroth was.
Finally, I saw a remnant of a person. What looked like an orc was frozen in place, unmoving and hazy, as if stuck on a blurry frame of a movie. A blurry frame of a catastrophe scene, perhaps, as the orc’s face was frozen in a grimace of fear and surprise – as most are when they’re about to get murdered by someone they trusted. I was reminded of seeing those in my training for becoming a Timewalker Watcher. This person was caught in a temporal wave of a world collapsing to entropy. It was then that I knew I was definitely in a timeline shattered by the Infinite Dragonflight. I should have hid and ran right there and then but my curiosity got the better of me and I used the Vision of TIme to open a vision of this orc’s past.
I saw Azeroth of the Lotus Eaters. The orc was peacefully frolicking across a meadow full of these magical lotuses until something started cracking. He looked beneath himself and everywhere around but he saw nothing but more surprised people, orcs, humans and gnomes alike. Then he looked up. It was the sky itself that was cracking apart. Giant, black cracks appeared on the sky, seeping some kind of shadowy energy through. Finally, the cracks continued down towards the ground, splitting the air and earth. As the ground began tearing itself apart under the orc’s feet even the psychodelic drug could not contain his fear. And then… the vision ended. The orc’s personal timeline was ripped apart and stopped dead in that moment.
I was afraid. I knew I had to run, or at least hide before I could become affected with the chaos happening around me. But perhaps I am more like you than I care to admit. I wanted to see more. I wanted to see how it happened, how was this timeline destroyed. I needed to know how were these billions of people erased from existence, so that it cannot happen to my timeline and to other timelines, full of innocent lives. So I pressed on, through the cracking rocks, through the spaces that began to warp its personal timelines, until I found a kaldorei building.
There, in the building, were three people holding their hands in their last moments. A night elven woman, grasping an orc man with an expression of hope and love, and a male tauren holding on to them. Perhaps these were the last defenders of Azeroth, the last hope against the coming darkness, I thought. I had to see who they were, how they came here, why are they frozen in time like the other orc was. So I used my Vision of TIme again.
And there I saw a moment of their lives. There were more of them. There was a troll female, a human couple and – you wouldn’t believe it – Valeera Sanguinar. They were waiting for something, until another man appeared among them. Looking vaguely night elven, he called them the last protectors of a maladied Azeroth. They were immune. They were one of the few people who were not affected by the magical lotus. The leader gave them all tasks to do to free the minds of others. I saw that tauren male, bitter about his wife – she died, he said, because she ate nothing but the plant and finally starved herself to death with a smile on her face. The tauren was determined to destroy the lotus and whoever made it to avenge his wife.
Then I saw them all go on their missions and destroy the plants. I saw them fight the enthralled Azerothians, compelled by the plant to defend it. I saw them die, one by one. I saw them fall in love with each other and begin life-long friendships. I saw new villains arise, immune to the plant’s effects but using it to their own gain. Finally, the villains fell but only the three of them remained – the night elf, the orc and the tauren. At the very end, they released into the air a toxin that sterilized all the plants. By next spring, they’d all be dead. But as they did that, their leader cackled maniacally. Before their very eyes, the ground and the sky shattered into a thousand pieces. The master was an Infinite Dragon. The timeline’s fate was to lose to the lotus, and the dragon defied it. By defying it, the continuum was shattered and the betrayed heroes clung to their lives before they were frozen in time.
I woke up from the vision to see the island dissolving around me. I wanted to save these three somehow, but I knew there was no way. I had to jump away and let them be dissolved with the rest of this wretched timeline. Everything they ever were, everything they did, erased from existence in the blink of an eye. I could not look at it. I jumped far away until I finally reached for the Vision of Time and tried to access the portal to escape. Only then I realized how much time I spent looking at that last vision. I missed my window. I was stuck.
Distressed, I began to manipulate the device but to no avail. It stopped responding, as if the time continuum itself was now too badly damaged to be ever escaped. I thought I would soon dissolve with the rest of this timeline, until I heard a voice. A soft, elven voice talked to me, albeit in a menacing tone. “I believe this belongs to me,” the person said. I turned around and I saw a high elf in bronze garments. The face was oddly familiar, but I couldn’t quite pin-point it.
“How did you survive?” I asked. “Everything else in this timeline is falling apart. How… unless…” I began putting the pieces together in my mind.
“Indeed. Some people may know me as Kalash Thrain, as these unfortunate fools called me as their leader, some called me the Dark One, some even called me the Devil. But you probably know me as…” The character paused for a moment, stopping for thought. Suddenly, multiple voices, similar but different, echoed all together across the empty void. “Kairozdormu.”
“It cannot be,” I said, “Kairozdormu is dead. Garrosh betrayed him.”
“You call yourself a Timewalker,” the voices continued to talk together, all from the mouth of the same person, “and yet your mind is so small.” As he moved his head around, echoes of the images moved in different directions, as if there were multiple Kairozdormus, all in the same spot, saying the same things, moving together but very slightly differently. “Garrosh killed but one of me. But this act opened the way for my true victory. He died in the wrong timeline. The battered spirit of that one Kairozdormu merged with the one still alive, the native. And that showed him… me… ussss… our true potential. Now I am not one Kairozdormu. I am not two. I am not a hundred.” The voices continued to splinter and join, and to warp into inhuman tones. “Now… I am Infinite.”
I heard too much. I ran. There was nowhere to run or hide, faced with the architect of the doom of the entire timeline, and who knows how many more timelines, but my instinct told me to run. He shifted into the form of an Infinite Dragon and continued to fly after me, gloating and calling all the countless deaths of me and my family and friends he witnessed. He gloated how he would get me and my meddling brother, whatever you’re going to do to him in the future, but he didn’t attack me. I suppose he enjoyed my pain and distress.
Then, a time window opened before me. A salvation! Thankfully Chromie stepped out of it and looked me, as happy as ever, and I quickly grabbed her out of relief. Then she looked behind me and her eyes widened in shock. “Kairoz?” she said, recognizing him even in this broken form.
“There is no time,” I responded, “We must run, NOW.” I did not need to say that twice. We quickly jumped into the portal to the Caverns of Time and closed the portal behind us. I don’t doubt he could follow us, but he did not. Perhaps, he has more job to do, more timelines to shatter, more innocent lives to kill… no, to erase from existence. The sheer amount of his evil deeds overwhelmed me.
I can’t do this, Verroak. The lives I’ve seen, the precious, unique lives, destroyed forever, undone by a maniac… I can’t do this job.